Sorrow and anger: Books I couldn’t finish or wished I hadn’t started

I don’t usually write negative reviews of books, because (1) it’s usually not fair on a writer to pillory them in public, (2) why waste the reader’s time? But sometimes writing a reasoned critical appraisal for the record can be a public service. For those searching online to find out if anyone else hated this book … Continue reading Sorrow and anger: Books I couldn’t finish or wished I hadn’t started

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The loucheness of the conservative novelist: Angela Thirkell writes about camp

Here's an extract from my next book, due out in July. This bit is about how Angela Thirkell, that most proper and dictatorial enforcer of correct social behaviour in her novels from the 1930s to the 1950s, let herself go when chortling with the girls about sex.  Thirkell’s great lesbian creations of Miss Hampton and … Continue reading The loucheness of the conservative novelist: Angela Thirkell writes about camp

‘The Plaint of the Middlebrow Novelist’

Here's a short comic poem to brighten your day. Written by the otherwise totally forgotten actress and novelist * Phoebe Fenwick Gaye and published (first? goodness knows) in 1937 in the feminist and progressive weekly magazine Time and Tide, this poem is valuable evidence of the cultural squabble that we in the trade call The Battle … Continue reading ‘The Plaint of the Middlebrow Novelist’