Hourglass or Penny-Farthing?

Christopher Tayler

  • BuyArctic Summer by Damon Galgut
    Atlantic, 357 pp, £17.99, May, ISBN 978 0 85789 718 3

Forster started writing his novel about India soon after getting home from his first trip there in 1913. During the 11 years he took to finish it, he wrote – but didn’t publish – a same-sex love story, Maurice; worked for the Red Cross in Egypt, where he had his first serious love affair; visited India again as secretary to the maharajah of Dewas; published two books on Alexandria and promoted Cavafy’s poetry; and issued many complaints about his work in progress. ‘Shall never complete another novel,’ he wrote in his diary at the end of 1914. In Dewas, his chapters ‘seemed to wilt and go dead’, he later recalled, ‘and I could do nothing with them.’ ‘I am bored,’ he wrote in a letter in 1922,

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