Nick Lezard

Salman Rushdie’s self-importance is entirely forgivable

I have the habit, when reading a collection of essays, of not reading them in order. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. So, as it happened, I had read nearly all of Languages of Truth before I arrived at the second piece in the book, ‘Proteus’, and came across the Salman Rushdie I

Spectacular invective: Jonathan Meades lets rip about Boris and Brexit

The title alludes to Jonathan Meades’s first collection of criticism, Peter Knows What Dick Likes, and to the album by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in their scabrous personae of Derek and Clive. Meades explains the title in his introduction: ‘It’s akin to “Two-Hour Dry Cleaners” where the operative, out of her head on perchloroethylene,

The cannibal feast: Mother for Dinner, by Shalom Auslander, reviewed

Seventh Seltzer is a nice family man, working as a publisher’s reader in New York, who happens to come from a family of cannibals. Specifically, Cannibal-Americans. The Can-Ams are the most marginalised of America’s minorities, largely because of their funerary rites: when one of them dies, the relatives drain the corpse of blood and then

Grave meditations

In 2012 OUP published Geoffrey Hill’s Collected Poems; they could have waited, because they’re now going to need another edition. Between 2012 and his death, aged 84, in 2016, Hill wrote another 271 poems, and here they are — although, given his productivity since the mid-1990s, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were plenty more.

A comedy of violence

The well-written spy novel is not a hotly contested field. Le Carré, Fleming, Deighton, a few Greenes, and that’s largely it. However, we now have a new contender: Mick Herron’s Jackson Lamb series. It was a brief but intriguing review in the TLS that first alerted me to the books, with their sidelined spooks, contemptuously