Sybille Bedford is a glorious writer. She's alluringly readable, and the two novels I have read by her were instantly absorbing. Her prose exudes authority and intelligence, her novels charm, intrigue, persuade and convince. She is magnificent, and I don't understand why she has received so much less attention than, say, Elizabeth Bowen or Elizabeth … Continue reading Sybille Bedford, A Legacy
Bea Howe was the dedicatee for Sylvia Townsend Warner's immortal first novel, Lolly Willowes in 1926, and in 1954 she published A Galaxy of Governesses, thanking Sylvia for her support in the acknowledgements. She and Sylvia spent Sylvia's last birthday together, her 84th, in 1977. That's a long and fruitful friendship. Bea published some novels … Continue reading Bea Howe, A Galaxy of Governesses
A recent article in The Bookseller talked about the importance of regional publishers, and the impossibility of dragging the London publishing companies and agents out of their self-determined comfort zone (I looked for it for ages and couldn't find it, will post it if I do). The Bookseller also this year established its inaugural Regional … Continue reading A list of non-London novels
Does the world need a new biography of John Buchan? There have been three so far: a very thin and respectful one written a few years after his 1940 death, in an atmosphere of sincere grief and hagiography. Then there was Janet Adam Smith's 1965 biography, invited and facilitated by the family, which was the … Continue reading Ursula Buchan, Beyond The Thirty-Nine Steps
HERE BE SPOILERS. Avengers: Endgame is not a film you can talk about in detail without spoiling it for those who haven't seen it, so please don't read on if you get upset by spoilers. I MEAN IT. I don't yet know if I liked the whole film or not. I was very bored in … Continue reading Avengers: Endgame.
Alice thrust this novel into my hands as I began running for my train, since we'd spent too long talking in a café after meeting up in person again after almost eight years. We had become friends in Brussels fifteen years ago or so, where I was an editor and she was a novelist, and … Continue reading Alice Jolly, Between the Regions of Kindness
I found this book of travel writing about the south-west of mid-1950s USA in The Second Shelf, a new antiquarian bookshop in London specialising in works by women. This was only the second book (partly) by a man I've seen there (the other was a lesbian pulp novel apparently written by a man with a … Continue reading J B Priestley and Jacquetta Hawkes, Journey Down a Rainbow