Tag Archives: Novels

Jocelyn Brooke’s ‘Drawn Sword’ — An English ‘Death in Venice’?

I was reading Jocelyn Brooke during a period of thinking again about an old love, the German genius Thomas Mann. Brooke is a serious-minded English writer from the mid twentieth century. He was a fine stylist, and with that went … Continue reading

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Greg Baxter’s Talent

The author of The Apartment (2012) and Munich Airport (2014) is a pointillist with words. He’s like the nineteenth-century painter Seurat conjuring a million dots into a picture of reality; except he’s a writer. His words are like pixels: amass … Continue reading

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Candia McWilliam: the best case-study since Freud’s Frau Emmy?

In her prize-winning A Case of Knives (1987) Candia McWilliam, a British novelist of my generation, created a word-circus. Her sentences were high-wire acts, her dialogues acrobatic and clowning. She was the Mistress of Ceremonies, cracking the whip to make … Continue reading

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A Difficult Lover and an Anti-Communist

‘Marek asked me to come and tell you that he loves you.’ The young Polish writer Marek Hlasko took German actress Sonja Ziemann’s breath away when he turned up on the filmset of Eighth Day of the Week in Wroclaw … Continue reading

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Two Gay Novels

An interest in the Paris scene drew me to Tristan Garcia’s Hate A Romance. It appeared in the UK in 2011 in a superb translation, after winning France’s Prix de Flore for its 27-year-old author in 2008. The mixture of mad politics, hatred … Continue reading

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Anyone’s Game depicts Brave New Russia

I certainly had Huxley’s novel in mind when I was writing the Moscow chapter of Anyone’s Game.  As I wrote in my first blog on these pages, in September 2012, novelists tend to have other novels in mind when they … Continue reading

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Sex and Mary McCarthy

Mary McCarthy’s 1963 bestseller The Group is a minutely detailed and unflinching study of eight girls just out of America’s then top women’s college, Vassar.  They’re about to embark on romance, sex, work. The novel shows where those first forays into … Continue reading

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