Adrian mole

A bubo-busting muckfest: Hurdy Gurdy, by Christopher Wilson, reviewed

In an essay for Prospect a few years back the writer Leo Benedictus noticed how many contemporary novels used what he called a ‘hindered’ narrator: that is, a protagonist (often a child) whose partial understanding of their world forces us to read between the lines. Unreliable narrators set out to deceive. By contrast, hindered narrators — such as the trapped five-year-old in Emma Donoghue’s Room — genuinely believe what they tell you: it’s all they know. As in Room, a hindered narrator can supply drama and pathos, but it’s handy for farce, too, as Christopher Wilson knows well. He likes to write about science biting off more than it can

Children’s books provide the perfect escape from coronovirus

The lockdown we have been enduring has at times felt drawn from the pages of a children’s book. The eerie quiet of the deserted public square has had something of the earliest fairy tale about it, as if we were all slumbering in Sleeping Beauty’s castle. At the same time, the apocalyptic media landscape of death graphs will have been familiar to fans of the latest young adult dystopias. Either way, for the healthy at home the action is still happening elsewhere, so this might be a good time for confident younger readers to tackle those enduring classics which have seen more than one generation through a crisis. Kidnapped by