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Young and Old

John Sutherland, 15 October 1981

Life Stories 
by A.L. Barker.
Hogarth, 319 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 7012 0538 5
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Many Men and Talking Wives 
by Helen Muir.
Duckworth, 156 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 7156 1613 7
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Good Behaviour 
by Molly Keane.
Deutsch, 245 pp., £6.50, September 1981, 9780233973326
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A Separate Development 
by Christopher Hope.
Routledge, 199 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 7100 0954 2
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From Little Acorns 
by Howard Buten.
Harvester, 156 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 7108 0390 7
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Fortnight’s Anger 
by Roger Scruton.
Carcanet, 224 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 85635 376 0
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... meanness’, or possibly the author doesn’t know what ‘mien’ means. By way of reply, Christopher picks up a brick. When he breaks through the window, Verity sprays him with insecticide. The affair ends. Rebounding from emptiness, Verity takes a job with the Drew Foundation, a body devoted to the enlightenment of underdeveloped countries on health ...

Ten Days that Shook Me

Alan Bennett, 15 September 1988

... a visit arranged by the Great Britain-USSR Society. My colleagues were the novelists Paul Bailey, Christopher Hope and Timothy Mo (who also writes for Boxing News), the poet Craig Raine (who doesn’t) and the playwright Sue Townsend of Adrian Mole fame. I had many misgivings about the trip, particularly in regard to creature comforts. I wondered, for ...

Vies de Bohème

D.A.N. Jones, 23 April 1987

A Sport of Nature 
by Nadine Gordimer.
Cape, 396 pp., £10.95, April 1987, 0 224 02447 7
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by Mary Flanagan.
Bloomsbury, 290 pp., £10.95, April 1987, 0 7475 0001 0
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... the last sentence of the book) to ‘the flag of Whaila’s country’. This is a strange novel, hopeful on the surface but with a note of desperation not quite concealed. Another South African novelist, Christopher Hope, told me recently that ‘the bookshelves are wet with South African tears’ and reminded me of ...

Received Accents

Peter Robinson, 20 February 1986

Collected Poems 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 351 pp., £15, September 1985, 0 19 211974 5
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Selected and New Poems: 1939-84 
by J.C. Hall.
Secker, 87 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 436 19052 4
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Burning the knife: New and Selected Poems 
by Robin Magowan.
Scarecrow Press, 114 pp., £13.50, September 1985, 0 8108 1777 2
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Englishmen: A Poem 
by Christopher Hope.
Heinemann, 41 pp., £4.95, September 1985, 0 434 34661 6
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Selected Poems: 1954-1982 
by John Fuller.
Secker, 175 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 436 16754 9
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Writing Home 
by Hugo Williams.
Oxford, 70 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 19 211970 2
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... Which else would have been passed by! because it is too busy trying to see urinals as mosques. Christopher Hope’s poem Englishmen has the advantage of a subject other than the inside of the poet’s own head. Hogge, Owen, Mrs Oribi and Mr Silvero represent aspects of English settler life in South Africa. The first two are ‘mysterious ...

Is there hope for U?

Christopher Tayler: Tom McCarthy, 20 May 2015

Satin Island 
by Tom McCarthy.
Cape, 192 pp., £16.99, March 2015, 978 0 224 09019 3
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... them into a magical alignment that discloses ‘the First and Last Word on our age’, as Peyman hopes he’ll do. If there’s a hidden centre to his musings, it’s probably tucked away in the grungy images – oil slicks, tarmac, cancer cells, vinyl, the Fresh Kills waste disposal site in Staten Island – that McCarthy weaves in and out of one another in ...

Dead Button: China Command Aircrew

Christopher Middleton, 2 October 1997

... spat and crackled, Rock was it, or sea? A bad situation. So you take hold on the controls and hope; It is a ghostly moment when the engines quit; And everywhere there was a whispering, Which explains the blank looks on our faces. The first thought, of mom and dad Or little sister, soon forgot. No whiff Of pinewood. No warmth of Dairy Queen. We Feathered ...


Patrick Parrinder, 23 November 1989

Christopher Unborn 
by Carlos Fuentes, translated by Alfred MacAdam.
Deutsch, 531 pp., £13.95, October 1989, 0 233 98016 4
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The Faber Book of Contemporary Latin American Short Stories 
edited by Nick Caistor.
Faber, 188 pp., £11.99, September 1989, 0 571 15359 3
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by Gore Vidal.
Deutsch, 543 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 9780233984957
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Oldest living Confederate widow tells all 
by Allan Gurganus.
Faber, 718 pp., £12.99, November 1989, 9780571142019
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... Christopher, the new Columbus, is conceived on a beach at Acapulco at the beginning of 1992. Mexico’s overseas debt stands at $1492 billion, soon to rise to $1992 billion, and the Yucatan peninsula has been ceded to the Club Mediterranée in the vain hope of paying the interest ...

Christopher Hitchens states a prosecution case

Christopher Hitchens, 25 October 1990

Crossman: The Pursuit of Power 
by Anthony Howard.
Cape, 361 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 224 02592 9
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... of the kind that every professional politician is expected to commit, and for which he may hope for praise (‘a politician to his fingertips’). And there are small venalities, such as the trashy, lucrative lawsuit brought by Crossman and others against the Spectator. (The magazine had reported him drunk in Venice: the late Lord Goddard had a bias ...


Christopher Ricks, 2 August 1984

The Faber Book of Parodies 
edited by Simon Brett.
Faber, 383 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 571 13125 5
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Lilibet: An Account in Verse of the Early Years of the Queen until the Time of her Accession 
by Her Majesty.
Blond and Briggs, 95 pp., £6.95, May 1984, 0 85634 157 6
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... Reset as an Arthurian idyll’. I don’t know whether Anon meant this as a parody of Tennyson; I hope not. If so, its maladroit ignorance ought to have ruled it out. Nobody who has read Tennyson could think that his verse ever moves like this: When one – some wondrous stately knight – Of our great Arthur’s ‘Table Round’; One, brave as ...

Aunts and Uncles

Michael Hofmann, 19 November 1992

A Feast in the Garden 
by George Konrad, translated by Imre Goldstein.
Faber, 394 pp., £14.99, October 1992, 0 571 16623 7
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Wartime Lies 
by Louis Begley.
Picador, 198 pp., £5.99, August 1992, 0 330 32099 8
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by Carmelo Samona, translated by Linda Lappin.
Carcanet, 131 pp., £13.95, August 1992, 0 85635 990 4
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by Thomas Healy.
Polygon, 161 pp., £7.95, July 1992, 0 7486 6121 2
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... why: the New World Order finds the Eastern (or as he would prefer it, Central – it sounds more hopeful) European writer completely disorientated. He has lost the system in relation to which he defined himself, and that gave him censorship, sense of purpose and a measure of his effectiveness; official and underground publishers; paper-rationing and ...

Now to Stride into the Sunlight

Ian Jack: The Brexiters, 14 June 2017

What Next: How to Get the Best from Brexit 
by Daniel Hannan.
Head of Zeus, 298 pp., £9.99, November 2016, 978 1 78669 193 4
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The Bad Boys of Brexit: Tales of Mischief, Mayhem & Guerrilla Warfare in the EU Referendum Campaign 
by Arron Banks.
Biteback, 354 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 1 78590 205 5
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All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class 
by Tim Shipman.
William Collins, 688 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 0 00 821517 0
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... on the NHS. The reason is clearer now: Carswell didn’t expect Farage to stick around for long, hoped indeed to precipitate his departure. But Farage did stick around. He resigned the Ukip leadership briefly after he failed to win South Thanet in the 2015 general election – his seventh attempt to win a Westminster seat – but then Carswell overplayed his ...


Christopher Hitchens: Keywords, 13 September 1990

... it had been the spineless Labourites all along. I have forgotten too much of the past to have any hope of repeating it, and think Santayana a windbag, but it still alarms me to see the United States embarking on a military journey without maps. ‘Guilty but Insane’ was Ian Gilmour’s heading for his Spectator review of Michael Foot and Mervyn Jones, whose ...

Under the Flight Path

August Kleinzahler: Christopher Middleton, 18 May 2016

... Christopher Middleton​ hated New York. Among the things he particularly disliked, I suspect, is New York’s position as a cultural bazaar, where reputations are bought, sold and traded, with the attendant buzz of speculation. He was incapable of schmoozing, and his career suffered accordingly. New York’s greatest draw, people action and brute energy, would have been lost on him ...

It’s Been a Lot of Fun

David Runciman: Hitchens’s Hitchens, 24 June 2010

Hitch-22: A Memoir 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Atlantic, 435 pp., £20, June 2010, 978 1 84354 921 5
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... In his book about religion, Peter Hitchens has a lot more to say about his brother Christopher than Christopher has to say about Peter in his book about himself.* ‘Some brothers get on,’ Peter writes mournfully, ‘some do not. We were the sort that just didn’t.’ He continues: At one stage – I was about nine, he nearly 12 – my poor gentle father actually persuaded us to sign a peace treaty in the hope of halting our feud ...


Christopher Reid, 15 May 1980

by Octavio Paz, Jacques Roubaud, Edoardo Sanguineti and Charles Tomlinson.
Penguin, 95 pp., £1.95, November 1979, 0 14 042268 4
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Kites in Spring 
by John Hewitt.
Blackstaff, 63 pp., £2.95, February 1980, 0 85640 206 0
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The Island Normal 
by Brian Jones.
Carcanet, 91 pp., £2.95, February 1980, 9780856353406
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New Poetry 5 
edited by Peter Redgrove and Jon Silkin.
Hutchinson, 163 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 09 139570 4
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... with a definite flavour of Modernism and Surrealism – cannot but prove the stronger. The pious hope that the writers’ individualities will somehow be sublimated into a pure, transcendent otherness is soon replaced by the knowledge that here we have, in typically Western form, what always comes about when so many poets gather – a quartet of vigorously ...

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