Alan Coren

The pleasures of peripolitania

Were you to look up the word ‘peripolitan’ in the Oxford English Dictionary, you would not find it. Though the thing weighs three tons and preens itself on containing every word jotted in English since the language first dragged itself out of the primordial alphabet soup, peripolitan is not there. This irritates me no end,

So near and yet so far from the target

High on the teetering list of all the things that, down the long arches of the hacking years, have dissuaded me from trying to cobble a novel is the dreary business of describing how the characters look. You have a picture of this person or that in your head, and your reader, having coughed up