Category Archives: Biography

Treacle Walker by Alan Garner (Fourth Estate)

“Ragbone! Ragbone! Any rags! Pots for rags.” THERE is a fair amount of subtext here, which you might, or might not, need. A little Latin may help. Alan Garner’s first work was published in 1963. He has been admired and … Continue reading

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We Don’t Know Ourselves by Fintan O’Toole (Head of Zeus)

“My parents’ wedding photograph always reminds me of a frontier town in an old western.” FOR anyone with a passing curiosity as to the unfolding events in Ireland over the last 60 years, this will be a rewarding, insightful, enjoyable … Continue reading

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The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa (Pan Macmillan)

“First things first. Granpa’s gone.” THERE is a fair amount of readerly, philosophy here, virtually a fairy story. Schoolboy inherits bookshop from grandfather. Meets talking cat. On a mission. Drops out of school to chagrin of down to earth class … Continue reading

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The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly (Orion)

“Bosch didn’t mind the wait. The view was spectacular.” THERE is quite a large canon of Michael Connelly books these days, thirty one in all, he was first published in 1992 and this one came out in 2016.  I picked … Continue reading

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Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (Vintage)

“In April, millions of tiny flowers spread over the blackjack hills and vast prairies in the Osage territory of Oklahoma“. THE opening paragraphs are an exemplar set up for any work of fiction/faction/reportage. The film version is slated for 2023 … Continue reading

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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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