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Diana Hendry rss

My First Love

30 August 2014

I made the mistake of getting in touch with him twenty years after – invited him to stay. He was almost alcoholic, had lost his front teeth, told endless anecdotes… Read more

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The Shock of the Fall is a worthy Costa Book of the Year

15 February 2014
The Shock of the Fall Nathan Filer

Borough Press, pp.314, £7.99, ISBN: 9780007491452

About 30 pages in and unable to find my bearings, I flipped to the end of this novel — well, not the actual end, to the acknowledgements (always fascinating) and… Read more

A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki — review

30 March 2013
A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki

Canongate, pp.422, £20, ISBN: 9780857867964

About halfway through A Tale for the Time Being I had the uncomfortable feeling that this was going to be a reincarnation story and that I would soon discover one… Read more

Memory games

24 March 2012
The Man Who Forgot His Wife John O’Farrell

Doubleday, pp.309, 14.99

I read this novel while convalescing from pneumonia. It proved admirably fit for purpose. A light diet, mildly entertaining and with enough twists and turns of plot to serve as… Read more

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The French connection

7 August 2010
The House with Blue Shutters Lisa Hilton

Corvus, pp.419, 7.99

If ever there was a novel to which that old adage about not judging a book by its cover could be applied, it’s this one. If ever there was a… Read more

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The loss of innocents

16 June 2010
The Missing Boy Rachel Billington

Orion, pp.304, 18.99

Forgetting Zo Ray Robinson

Heinemann, pp.278, 12.99

Here are two novels about that most harrowing and haunting of subjects — children who go missing. Here are two novels about that most harrowing and haunting of subjects —… Read more

Boys will be boys

1 April 2008
Sputnik Caledonia Andrew Crumey

Picador, pp.553, 7.99

Reading this novel I couldn’t help but think of the opening lines of Miroslav Holub’s poem, ‘A Boy’s Head’ — ‘In it there is a space ship/ and a project/… Read more

Laughter in the howling wilderness

18 March 2006
The Tent Margaret Atwood

Bloomsbury, pp.155, 12.99

Hot on the heels of The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood’s retelling of the story of Penelope and Odysseus, comes The Tent, a neat, must-have little volume with scarlet endpapers, a silky… Read more

All gas and gaiters

28 January 2006
Kept: A Victorian Mystery D. J. Taylor

Chatto, pp.431, 16.99

It’s irrelevant, I know, but I can’t help wondering what it was like living with D. J. Taylor while he was writing this opus. It’s so steeped in Victoriana and… Read more

Growing up through grief

29 October 2005
Mother, Missing Joyce Carol Oates

Fourth Estate, pp.434, 17.99

The Final Reminder Lydia Flem

Souvenir, pp.119, 9.99

I’d like to defend Joyce Carol Oates —she’s had so many rotten reviews of this, her latest novel. Reviewers, I reason, must get tired of a writer who publishes a… Read more

A refusal to mourn

11 September 2004
A Tale of Love and Darkness Amos Oz translated by Nicholas de Lange

Chatto & Windus, pp.517, 17.99

‘Every true writer becomes a writer because of a profound trauma experienced in youth or childhood,’ wrote Amos Oz in The Silence of Heaven, his study of the work of… Read more

A concern with appearances

3 July 2004
Canarino Katherine Bucknell

Fourth Estate, pp.340, 12.99

I was bemused by this novel — a first from Katherine Bucknell, better known as an editor of Isherwood’s diaries and of Auden studies. In its concentration on houses (in… Read more

A voice worth listening to

8 May 2004
New Collected Poems W. S. Graham

Faber, pp.387, 25

I could tell you about Graham the man, the hard-drinking, wild and wayward Scots poet who spent most of his life in Cornwall among the artists of St Ives, but… Read more

Two very different islands

3 January 2004
Miss Ranskill Comes Home Barbara Euphan Todd

Persephone Books, pp.330, 10

Reviewing this novel in 1946, when it was first published, Rosamond Lehmann described it as ‘a work of great originality … a blend of fantasy, satire and romantic comedy’. Persephone… Read more

His own worst enemy

15 March 2003
THE LOVE SECRETS OF DON JUAN Tim Lott

Viking, pp.295, 14.99

My partner wanted to leave the dustwrapper of this book at home. He denied my suggestion that he didn’t want to be seen reading it on the train, claiming it… Read more