William Skidelsky

William Skidelsky is the author of Federer and Me.

From The Blog
7 July 2021

‘Will this be the last time I see him?’ I wondered as I trod the familiar route down Wimbledon Park Road on Monday. I was off to see Roger Federer – a month away from his fortieth birthday – taking on Lorenzo Sonego in the fourth round. There were two other matches scheduled on Centre Court – Novak Djokovic against Cristian Garin, and 17-year-old Coco Gauff against the former number one Angelique Kerber – but both felt almost beside the point. That’s the danger with extreme partisanship: it can suck the excitement out of everything else. When I watch other players, I judge them by Federer’s standards. And no one measures up. 

Jonathan Lethem’s novels tend to be fusions of genres. As She Climbed across the Table (1997) is a science-fiction campus novel; Girl in Landscape (1998) an SF western. Gun, with Occasional Music (1994), his first novel, is a detective story set in a dystopian future. Narcotics are doled out by the state, and knowledge of the past has been eradicated. Children have been genetically...

No Longer Handsome: Geoff Dyer

William Skidelsky, 25 September 2003

Geoff Dyer announced recently that he wasn’t ‘very interested in character and not remotely interested in story or plot’. For someone who writes novels (I hesitate to use the word ‘novelist’), this is a striking admission. Dyer, who was born in 1958, has so far written three. His first, The Colour of Memory (1989), is set in Brixton during the 1980s, and records...

Vinegar Pie: Annie Proulx

William Skidelsky, 6 March 2003

The Texas and Oklahoma panhandles are adjacent strips of high flat land sticking out across the base of the Great Plains. This overlooked territory is where Annie Proulx sets her fourth novel, a determinedly eccentric comedy about a dreamy 25-year-old called Bob Dollar. When he was eight, Bob’s parents moved to Alaska, leaving him on the doorstep of his Uncle Tam’s ‘Used but...

Shizza my drizzle: Nick McDonell

William Skidelsky, 5 September 2002

Nick McDonell’s first novel (written, in case you haven’t read a newspaper recently, when he was 17) is set on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and focuses on a group of teenagers from that neighbourhood. With a couple of exceptions, the characters in the novel are immensely privileged: they attend – or have attended – boarding schools; they live in luxurious...

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