More Pain, Better Sentences

Adam Mars-Jones

  • BuyLost for Words by Edward St Aubyn
    Picador, 261 pp, £12.99, May, ISBN 978 0 330 45422 3
  • BuyBooks by Charlie Hill
    Tindal Street, 192 pp, £6.99, November 2013, ISBN 978 1 78125 163 8

If Beryl Bainbridge had published, as her last novel, a satirical farce about the machinations behind a famous literary prize, she might have managed to weather the accusations of pique. Better yet if she had held it back for posthumous publication, to show that she could wait out her own ego. Anyone else is likely to be seen as settling a score rather than diagnosing the ills of the literary marketplace. Edward St Aubyn, whose new novel, Lost for Words, is a satirical farce about the machinations behind a famous literary prize, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2006 with Mother’s Milk, but lost out to Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss.

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