Sarah Perry, The Essex Serpent (2016) I know, I know. It’s probably the most popular novel of 2016, winning prizes, praised everywhere in the UK media for months. I was so looking forward to reading this, and I was so damn disappointed. Perhaps it was the reviews, of which ‘one of the most memorable historical … Continue reading It’s Not You, It’s Me: More Reading Disappointments
The Vondel Translation Prize - a bi-annual prize established by the Society of Authors - has been awarded to the American translator David McKay, the translator of Stefan Hertmans' novel Oorlog en Turpentijn / War and Turpentine. It's set during before, during and after the First World War, in Flanders and is based on the … Continue reading The 2017 Vondel Prize
This is the penultimate issue of Penguin New Writing, from 1950, and I think John Lehmann is losing his grip (again). He actually opens the art section with two paintings by a woman, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: this has never happened before. Other notable contributors include Paul Bowles, Cecil Day-Lewis, Kathleen Raine and Tom Hopkinson. Lehmann's 'Foreword' … Continue reading Penguin New Writing 39: woman sighted
Which Loki do you prefer? The Tom Hiddleston iteration of Loki is out and about again, in Thor: Ragnarok, which I would rate at 7 out of 10. He's a lot less Loki-ish in this film than in his earlier appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I think he loses impact by being normalised. … Continue reading Which Loki?
On Vulpes Libris I've posted a furious review of Antonia White's marvellous novel Frost in May. I've been meaning to read this for years, but could never find a second-hand copy, which I think is indicative. It's one of those novels that, if you respond to it, you have to keep it. It was also … Continue reading Now posting on Vulpes Libris: Antonia White’s Frost in May
We deep-dyed fans of the Peter Grant Rivers of London universe (the Metropolitan Police's 'weird shit' squad who deal with magic) have been waiting impatiently for the next book to come along. Aaronovitch has been writing the interpolated Rivers of London comic strip series for a year or two (I wrote about this here and … Continue reading Ben Aaronovitch’s The Furthest Station
There is full-on puffery in John Lehmann's Foreword to Penguin New Writing in this 1949 issue. It's been only a few issues since he sent out a plea for someone to contribute something funny; he's lost all sense of proportion now. His Foreword begins with the question of how can we know 'if a man … Continue reading Penguin New Writing 38: John Lehmann loses his judgement