Books

The organisation man

5 October 2002 12:00 am

In 1743, 393 livings within the gift of the Archbishop of York were occupied by clergymen who did not live…

Mastery of time and space

5 October 2002 12:00 am

Even Churchill might have been discouraged had he, instead of Lord Portland, been prime minister and surveying the scene in…

A poet under strict controls

5 October 2002 12:00 am

This vast work has the distinction of being both unreadable and unputdownable. It consists of nearly half a million words,…

Putting it all in

5 October 2002 12:00 am

Not for nothing has Jeffrey Eugenides, on the strength of just one novel published seven years ago, been cropping up…

Driving on a dark night

5 October 2002 12:00 am

Ken Nott is the most annoying man in England. It’s his job (he’s a shock jock, a prime-time talk-radio DJ),…

The Orwell of Notting Hill

5 October 2002 12:00 am

Roy Kerridge is conservative in attitude, he loves the works of Kipling and he enjoys the company of those whom…

Climbing among the skyscrapers

5 October 2002 12:00 am

According to Ward McAllister, the fabled gate-keeper of New York high society in the 1890s, to be counted among the…

Big little man

28 September 2002 12:00 am

‘What a swankpot!’ Sir Norman Wisdom pseudo-modestly pseudo-rebukes himself after listing some of the trophies in a display cabinet at…

No petticoat long unlifted

28 September 2002 12:00 am

Few admirers of Faber’s recent spate of tales and novellas – the spacious and admirably unadorned The Courage Consort and…

The Margot and Henry show

28 September 2002 12:00 am

The publicity material likens this book to The Forsyte Saga, but in fact it’s far more gripping than fiction: the…

Well met by moonlight

28 September 2002 12:00 am

One of the best permanent shows in London is the Science Museum’s collection of electrical and magnetic instruments commissioned by…

Past glories prove elusive

28 September 2002 12:00 am

Despite many allusions to Virgil and a diligent summary of various interpretations of Poussin’s ‘Les Bergers d’Arcadie’, Ben Okri’s main…

Gentleman and player

28 September 2002 12:00 am

During my brief stint as a showbiz scribe – which unfortunately came to an end when I expressed a preference…

Too much and too late

28 September 2002 12:00 am

By the criteria of the day before yesterday, the late William Whitelaw, a much loved Tory politician who served as…

Our man in the thick of it

28 September 2002 12:00 am

There he is on the cover, our handsome 57-year-old Boys’ Own adventurer, probably doing a piece to camera, cheered on…

Nature versus Nurture: the state of play

21 September 2002 12:00 am

The Blank Slate, more readily recognised in its original Latin as tabula rasa, is the soubriquet for the view that…

A world of drivers and passengers

21 September 2002 12:00 am

VJ night, the war in the Pacific is finally over, and in William Kennedy’s Albany the war of senatorial election…

The way to the tomb

21 September 2002 12:00 am

This queer, black novel is mainly concerned with the special funeral train service which once plied between Waterloo Station and…

Out of the bottom drawer?

21 September 2002 12:00 am

Two years ago in The Spectator I praised Ha Jin’s earlier novel, Waiting. It was about a kindly, ineffectual army…

Singing for your supper

21 September 2002 12:00 am

On 23 February l937 a small boy of seven arrives at Victoria station, London. Here he is met, as arranged,…

Boots, boots, boots, boots

21 September 2002 12:00 am

KEANE: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHYby Roy KeanePenguin/Michael Joseph, £17.99, pp. 294, ISBN 07181455 One could imagine an American visitor to Hatchards being…

Not one to be stared down

21 September 2002 12:00 am

No ghostwriter haunts this account of a cricketing life, so obviously written by the man who played the way he…

Pedalling into politics

21 September 2002 12:00 am

Perhaps it is not a good idea to call Dervla Murphy ‘redoubtable’. She is a strident anti-militarist and might not…

The heart of the master

14 September 2002 12:00 am

THE HUMOUR AND THE PITY: ESSAYS ON V. S. NAIPAULedited by Amitava KumarBuffalo Books, in association with the British Council,…

When inner and outer reality collide

14 September 2002 12:00 am

Coleridge’s Notebooks have been a companion during most of my mature life and this is a marvellously judged and varied…