This novel annoyed me so much, for its ignorance, or wilful avoidance, of historical accuracy and plausibility. But, if it isn't historical fiction, then it's a deeply uncomfortable read because of its implausibility: we are reading about the systematised prostitution of children in a fantasical story about physical damage in a brutalised society. Some reviewers … Continue reading Xan Brooks, The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times
Inez Holden was a journalist, and a friend or a colleague of most of the literary giants of the middle of the twentieth century, as well as a former lover of George Orwell. I’ve been reading her Second World War writing, and have been thoroughly intrigued by her novel There’s No Story There (1944), which … Continue reading Inez Holden, There’s No Story There
Lyndall Hopkinson is the daughter of Tom Hopkinson (author, journalist, editor of Picture Post), and the novelist and poet Antonia White (her real name was Eirene Botting, but she never used it so let’s stick to Antonia). This 1988 biography of Antonia is mainly about, and trying to explain, if not excuse, Antonia’s destructive awfulness … Continue reading Lyndall Hopkinson, Nothing to Forgive
About 18 months ago I wrote about Susan Cooper's five-novel sequence called The Dark Is Rising. If published today they would be classified as children's / YA fantasy fiction. In the 1960s and 1970s when the five individual novels first came out - my editions are the slim 1980s Puffins with tight leading and a … Continue reading Re-reading Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising
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
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