Category Archives: Literature

On the bench

For the last few days I’ve been reading “Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories”, a biography of sorts of one of the most celebrated defence lawyers of the last century.  (He’s still  alive, and turned 102 this year.) One chapter is devoted … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Media | Tagged , , , ,

Notebook

As with my psoriasis, the affliction is not entirely unfortunate. It makes me think twice about going on stage and appearing in classrooms and at conferences – all the socially approved yet spiritually corrupting public talking that writers of even … Continue reading

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Notebook

I shouldn’t normally show what I’d written to anyone: what would be the point? You remember Tennyson reading an unpublished poem to Jowett; when he had finished, Jowett said, “I shouldn’t publish that if I were you, Tennyson.” Tennyson replied, … Continue reading

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The Nix, the hype

My Times review of the much-lauded debut novel from Nathan Hill: Can a novel attract too much attention? That might sound like a foolish question in the age of digital distraction, when writers know they are competing with the cookbooks of … Continue reading

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Notebook

It is said children still have a sense of wonder, later one becomes blunted. Nonsense. A child takes things for granted, and most people get no further; only an old person, who thinks, is aware of the wondrous. Victor Klemperer, diary, … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Notebook, World War 2 | Tagged ,

Notebook

And so I hope at least to be able to fulfil one of the chief conditions of any fair portrayal of an era; namely honesty and impartiality. For truly I have been detached, as rarely anyone has in the past, … Continue reading

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Notebook

Something in the intensity with which Windrip looked at his audience, looked at all of them, his glance slowly taking them in from the highest-perched seat to the nearest, convinced them that he was talking to each individual, directly and … Continue reading

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Notebook

The last day has dawned. Since I drew up those statistics I have tramped an additional 114 kilometres. In a moment I am going into the garden and will cover another ten kilometres, so that I shall be ending my … Continue reading

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Re-imagining the Underground Railroad

The PR machine says it’s a modern masterpiece. I don’t think so. From my review in today’s Times: Who needs literary critics when you have Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey on your side? Colson Whitehead’s tale of fugitives from slavery … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Race, Reviews | Tagged , , , ,

Notebook

I went – no, I staggered out of the room. Before I had reached the end of the dark corridor the last remnants of my strength left me, and my senses receded so that I had to steady myself by … Continue reading

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