He is a man of thirty-five, but looks fifty. He is bald, has varicose veins and wears spectacles, or would wear them if his only pair were not chronically lost. If things are normal with him he will be suffering from malnutrition, but if he has recently had a lucky streak he will be suffering from a hangover. Continue reading George Orwell on book reviewers
‘Across the Common’…a nice English title, you think perhaps a cosy Barbara Pymish book about a young woman finding her way in life in a small village. But then if I tell you it was published in America under the title The Violent Past, you might wonder how the two titles could refer to the same book. But then you might consider Barbara Pym, Elizabeth Taylor and Barbara Comyns and recall how their very Englishness had quite a dark side to it. And Elizabeth Berridge belongs very much in the company of these great female writers. I find it remarkable she is so little known. I would never have discovered her if I had not read a review of a recent reprint of her short stories Tell it to a Stranger (Thank you Guy at swiftlytiltingplanetwordpress.com) where this quote really appealed to me, the reflection of an aging woman on a visit from her great nephew ‘Another bit of cargo dropped overboard to lighten the boat on its lonely journey over a darkening sea.’ Continue reading Across the Common – Elizabeth Berridge
I once read a description of the great British Public Schools (a strange term; they are not for the general public but are fee paying schools for the elite) as ‘concentration camps run by paedophiles.’ How my heart would sink when I was reading an English novel and the son reached the age of seven. I knew the mother would be distraught, the father resolute; the child, like his father before him, had to be sent away to boarding school. Whether it was Eton, Rugby or Harrow, the poor innocent had no idea what he was in for. Continue reading A Private Place – Amanda Craig
The Gerts have long been devoted readers of The London Review of Books (known as the LRB to the cognoscenti). We have passed our copies on to friends and family and have surely accounted for the rise in subscriptions from our harsh brown land. The journal is issued fortnightly, is closely printed, and amounts to around forty-one pages. They no longer have the amusing lonely heart entries in the back pages that used to divert us in the past, but there is always something humourous, infuriating or enlightening to read. Continue reading Meeting the Devil- A Book of Memoir
Langston Hughes, the African American writer who was a leader in the Harlem Renaissance wrote Let America be America Again in 1935. I quote a couple of the most telling sections below. Eighty-five years after they were written they are still relevant. Continue reading Let America be America Again
I encountered Jane Stevenson when I read in The Guardian her assessment of the work of Margery Allingham.
Continue reading Good Women – Jane Stevenson