Category Archives: Biography

Spring Cannot Be Cancelled by David Hockney with Martin Gayford (Thames and Hudson)

“I have known David Hockney for a quarter of a century now…” WHEN you look at the fabulous new paintings from David Hockney in a Normandy farmhouse, there is often a tiny detail – a ladder, a bird, a van, … Continue reading

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Silverview by John Le Carre (Penguin/Viking)

“At ten o’clock of a rainswept morning in London’s West End, a young woman in a baggy anorak, a wooden scarf pulled up around her head, strode resolutely into the storm that was roaring down South Audley street”. THE imagery … Continue reading

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Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet (Saraband)

“Before the end of 2019, I received an email from a Mr Martin Grey of Clacton-on-Sea.” Graeme Macrae Burnet’s published books split into two – on the one hand we have the quasi French detecto entertainments of M. Gorski, here … Continue reading

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The Sleeping Car Murders by Sebastien Japrisot (Gallic)

IN translation we get a cottage garden style of English not the sprawling, homogenizing white sauce of the ruined mansions of quasi English language. The cathedral once constructed by Dickens is reduced to a semi in suburbia, a bungalow on … Continue reading

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Bleak House by Charles Dickens, part three (Penguin)

BY page 593 this gargantuan torture wheel of a plot is starting to turn.  The perimeter is on the horizon. We have a literary variation on a Swiss watch with all the little interlocking wheels starting to spin. Beyond the … Continue reading

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Bleak House by Charles Dickens (part two) Penguin

IN the hands of a more radical director than the BBC employ, say someone Asian, Bleak House might have been less boisterous and bleaker still. Grandpa Smallweed, Guppy and Tulkinghorn might be even more mendacious, the latent sexuality as headed … Continue reading

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Bleak House by Charles Dickens (Penguin) part one

“LONDON. Michaelmas Term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall. Implacable November weather.” EVEN in the opening lines above, the style is strikingly modern, almost casual, just taking aim as it were, Hemingway might have approved. … Continue reading

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Coming soon…a masterpiece

Been quiet for a while; re-discovering a masterpiece, review coming soon…watch this space…

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Summer by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)

SO, we have the younger genius brother from hell, the father’s mistress who is struck dumb. This is the fourth in the quartet (I presume) and like the other volumes the opening salvo takes no prisoners. “As in, so what?” … Continue reading

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In Love with George Eliot by Kathy O’Shaughnessy (Scribe)

“The train had shuddered to a halt. Clatter of doors-opening and shutting, noise echoing in the huge vault of Euston station, a smell of oil-flavoured steam and soot. A last door opens…”  THERE might be a warning on this: do … Continue reading

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