For those unfamiliar with Martin Amis’s short story, ‘What Happened to Me on My Holiday’, written for The New Yorker in 1997, it was a purist exercise in autobiographical fiction; not even the names were changed.
Nobody who reads Nigel Farndale’s The Blasphemer is likely to complain about being short-changed.
This handsome and encouraging book is perhaps unfortunate in its title.
These long anticipated literary mysteries never end in anything very significant — one thinks of Harold Brodkey’s The Runaway Soul, falling totally flat after decades of sycophantic pre-publicity, or Truman Capote’s Answered Prayers, emerging in fragments in 1975, after 17 years of non-work, to scandal but no acclaim.
Twice in the 20th century, men have sought to create a new world order.
First, I must declare an interest.
Very funny guy, John O’Farrell.
Letters give us the life as lived — day-to-day, shapeless, haphazard, contingent, imperfect, authentic.
With Blood’s a Rover James Ellroy finally finishes his ‘Underworld USA’ trilogy.
In 1975, admitted to an institution for inveterate alcoholics, John Cheever alarmed and scandalised the staff by what they called inappropriate laughter:
Notwithstanding’s suite of inter- linked stories draws on Louis de Bernière’s memories of the Surrey village (somewhere near Godalming, you infer) where he lived as a boy.
Not every writer would begin a history of the 1950s with a vignette in which the young Keith Waterhouse treads on Princess Margaret by mistake.
The origin of this unique publication is the 1990s Waldegrave open government initiative, encouraging departments to reveal more.
As a young man in the 1970s Michael Bloch was the architectural historian and diarist James Lees- Milne’s last (if, we are assured, platonic) attachment, and later became his literary executor.
Strange Days Indeed, by Francis Wheen