Deep down

Julian Symons

  • The Last World by Christoph Ransmayr, translated by John Woods
    Chatto, 202 pp, £12.95, May 1990, ISBN 0 7011 3502 6
  • The End of Lieutenant Boruvka by Josef Skvorecky, translated by Paul Wilson
    Faber, 188 pp, £12.99, May 1990, ISBN 0 571 14973 1
  • The Dwarves of Death by Jonathan Coe
    Fourth Estate, 198 pp, £12.95, May 1990, ISBN 1 872180 51 5
  • Last Loves by Alan Sillitoe
    Grafton, 190 pp, £12.95, May 1990, ISBN 0 333 51783 0

What is it really about, and why was it written like this? The questions are never unreasonable when confronted with works that suggest the possibility of other meanings present beneath the surface level of realism, and when a reader has to decide whether suggested profundities really exist or in fact resemble what Eliot in old age called his notes to The Waste Land, an exhibition of bogus scholarship.

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