Lucy Beresford

Michael Arditti is the Graham Greene of our time

Duncan Neville is an unlikely hero for a novel. Approaching 50, divorced and the butt of his teenage son Jamie’s utter contempt, Duncan is also the eloquent yet mild-mannered editor of the Francombe Mercury, a local newspaper on its last legs. Francombe too has seen better days, not least since its pier burnt down in

Brian Aldiss unpicks the Jocasta complex

What if the gods of Greek myth had parallels with Freud’s notion of the unconscious? This is just one idea explored in Brian Aldiss’s sassy retelling of the stories of two prominent women of Thebes. In two novellas, Jocasta, Wife and Mother and Antigone, Aldiss puts both women and their emotional lives centre-stage, as they

A year of living dangerously

After 14 months working as an inter-dealer bond broker, posh totty Thompson was fired in February 2008 for gross misconduct. Her crime? Writing a warts-and-all article of the broking industry which was published in The Spectator. Enjoy- ment of this memoir (basically an extension of that original piece) will, I suspect, depend on either an

Ways of escape

At a time in modern, secular Britain when religion is seen not as the saviour but as the cause of many of society’s problems, we have become skilled not so much at turning the other cheek as turning a blind eye. Thank God (maybe literally) for writers like Michael Arditti, whose invigorating novels dare to

No sex please, we’re credit-crunched bankers

For testosterone-driven City high-fliers, the world has fallen apart, says psychotherapist Lucy Beresford — and one result is a dramatic rise in sexually disturbed behaviour There’s no doubting the trauma in today’s City: redundancy is rife and those who still have jobs are struggling to cope with an utterly changed financial world. No wonder a

Scapegoats, hate figures and superheroes

Psychotherapist and former banker Lucy Beresford says we’re all in denial about our guilt for the debt crisis During the recent economic nervous breakdown, pundits everywhere put forward every possible financial cause. But they only told part of the story. Economics is also governed partly by human behaviour. So a fuller understanding of the crisis,

Too French by half

Take Harold Pinter: dismissed at the outset for having written an impenetrable play, but who nearly 50 years on ends up being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. I ask you, who’d be a critic? I mention this by way of an apology should, in 50 years’ time, Simon Liberati pick up a gong of

Too much in the sun

Reading this languid, chapterless novel is like spending the summer in Tuscany. The plot drifts along, punctuated by a few sharp shocks, just as a day at the villa might combine exquisite lethargy with a brisk dip in the pool or sumptuous meals. Sometimes there’s an obvious sting in the tail for such indolence: the

On the couch

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Living rooms up and down the country will reverberate to the sound of families rowing, and the television being turned on to provide distraction. But whereas a generation ago the nation could be united by watching the only film on offer, The Sound of Music on BBC1, today’s

Summer reads

Summer reads: doesn’t the very phrase conjure up unfortunate images of lobster sunburn? Summer reads: doesn’t the very phrase conjure up unfortunate images of lobster sunburn? But what to do, when a long summer stretches ahead and there are still hours in the day to kill after you’ve finished watching the footie, or the live

Emotional incontinence

This year will be remembered as the one in which the psychopathology of Britain slipped down the toilet. Just last month the imagination of the nation’s television viewers was captured — some would say hijacked — first by the comedy show Little Britain, with a series of sketches about a geriatric woman who is oblivious

Recent first novels

I selected Overnight to Innsbruck by Denyse Woods by chance from the reviewing shelf and discovered a real treat of a read. It is pleasantly old-fashioned in having a strong, page-turning plot, and credible characters who panic and fret in recognisably authentic ways, yet bristling with smart, contemporary dialogue and psychological insight. If only chance