Big Fish

Frank Kermode

  • Tell Them I’m on my Way by Arnold Goodman
    Chapmans, 464 pp, £20.00, August 1993, ISBN 1 85592 636 9
  • Not an Englishman: Conversations with Lord Goodman by David Selbourne
    Sinclair-Stevenson, 237 pp, £17.99, August 1993, ISBN 1 85619 365 9

The portrait of Lord Goodman on the jacket of his memoirs is from a photograph; the one on David Selbourne’s book is from a portrait by Lucian Freud. In the first he looks severe but quizzical, a kind man but not a man to be put upon; in the second he looks quite desperately sad, as if he had done much to little or no avail, and might well have been put upon quite heavily. Neither quite matches the public image: the ebullient achiever, the man whom everybody in London, from prime ministers, important artists and rich businessmen, down to more ordinarily harassed mortals, regarded as the only present help in time of trouble.

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