Jo the crossing sweeper

The year of living decisively: The Turning Point, by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, reviewed

We tend to think of turning points as single moments of change — Saul on the road to Damascus or Bob Dylan performing with an electric guitar. The change is identified as a discrete moment for which there is a distinct before and after. But this is not always the case and, as Robert Douglas-Fairhurst argues, a turning point can trace a wider arc and evolve over longer periods. These turning points are clear only in hindsight once the details have softened and the ripples outward have stilled. His latest book examines one such period in the career of Charles Dickens, surveying the artefacts of his life to track his