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This Charming Man

Frank Kermode, 24 February 1994

The Collected and Recollected Marc 
Fourth Estate, 51 pp., £25, November 1993, 1 85702 164 9Show More
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... why Jimmy Hill has an Arab headdress, or why Lord Home stands bat in hand before a broken wicket. Craig Brown says that in his caricatures Boxer mixed ‘the base and the suave’, but there is not a lot of baseness here, not much of the Rowlandson; and such fluent drawing can hardly help flattering the sitter. What ...

Is the lady your sister?

E.S. Turner: An innkeeper’s diary, 27 April 2000

An Innkeeper's Diary 
by John Fothergill.
Faber, 278 pp., £23.95, January 2000, 0 571 15014 4
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... generations later is a downright delight. The angry and abusive restaurateur is still with us, as Craig Brown points out in his excellent short introduction, but John Fothergill, for all his eccentricities, snobberies and potty obsessions, had an endearing quality lacking in today’s kitchen boors; and for me this aspect was strongly confirmed by a ...

Looking for a Way Up

Rosemary Hill: Roy Strong’s Vanities, 25 April 2013

Self-Portrait as a Young Man 
by Roy Strong.
Bodleian, 286 pp., £25, March 2013, 978 1 85124 282 5
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... busts and at least one portrait in stumpwork. His style eventually became so recognisable that Craig Brown suggested his entire face, glasses, nose and moustache, could be bought in one piece from joke shops. His character turned out to be more difficult to get right. Having overcome crippling nerves, Strong discovered that he could ‘give ...

Shtum

John Lanchester: Alastair Campbell’s Diaries, 16 August 2007

The Blair Years: Extracts from the Alastair Campbell Diaries 
edited by Alastair Campbell and Richard Stott.
Hutchinson, 794 pp., £25, July 2007, 978 0 09 179629 7
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... I know: let’s find our angriest, shoutiest, most tribal, most aggressive party loyalist. As Craig Brown joked in the Mail on Sunday, it is as if, instead of turning to Doctor Watson for advice, Sherlock Holmes had instead consulted the Hound of the Baskervilles. Campbell is a political journalist who, as part of a not-all-that-complex ...

Always the Same Dream

Ferdinand Mount: Princess Margaret, 4 January 2018

Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 423 pp., £16.99, September 2017, 978 0 00 820361 0
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... It is 15 years since she died, and memories of her are not as sharp as they were. Which makes Craig Brown’s enterprise not only a marvellous freak of literature but a matchless summoner of our yesterdays. It is a collage, montage or bricolage of glittery bits culled from two hundred biographies, authorised and unauthorised, written by cashiered ...

Highland Hearts

V.G. Kiernan, 20 December 1990

On the Crofters’ Trail: In Search of the Clearance Highlanders 
by David Craig.
Cape, 358 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 224 02750 6
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... Just inside the fir-dusk a hollow oblong of stones now showed, brown and damp with that stupefied or browbeaten look of an abandoned croft-house ... Here was Unnimore.’ Here, too, was David Craig, groping through a wilderness in Morvern in search of a long-abandoned hamlet; his treasure-trove the remains of eight little houses, their stones covered with ‘whiskery grey lichens ...

Triermain Eliminate

Chauncey Loomis, 9 July 1987

Native Stones: A Book about Climbing 
by David Craig.
Secker, 213 pp., £10.95, May 1987, 0 436 11350 3
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... and terminated. That cured me for good. So now I admire climbing from a distance. As David Craig effectively demonstrates in Native Stones, however, it is an activity best understood from close up. Much of its delight and terror is almost microscopic in source. Non-climbers may associate the sport with acrophobic spaces, alp on alp arising, but most of ...

Valorising Valentine Brown

Patricia Craig, 5 September 1985

Ascendancy and Tradition in Anglo-Irish Literary History from 1789 to 1939 
by W.J. McCormack.
Oxford, 423 pp., £27.50, June 1985, 0 19 812806 1
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Across a Roaring Hill 
edited by Gerald Dawe and Edna Longley.
Blackstaff, 258 pp., £10.95, July 1985, 0 85640 334 2
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Celtic Revivals: Essays in Modern Irish Literature 1880-1980 
by Seamus Deane.
Faber, 199 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 571 13500 5
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Escape from the Anthill 
by Hubert Butler.
Lilliput, 342 pp., £12, May 1985, 0 946640 00 9
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... of the new English-speaking aristocracy that had ousted the old Irish-speaking one. ‘Valentine Brown’, as these purists saw it, was the sort of ludicrous name an arriviste landowner might call himself – someone who’d installed himself in a demesne of the great McCarthys, now dead or dispersed. In this world, the speaker of ‘cunning ...

Getting on

Patricia Craig, 17 September 1987

The Golden Bird: Two Orkney Stories 
by George Mackay Brown.
Murray, 226 pp., £10.95, July 1987, 0 7195 4385 1
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The Upper Hand 
by Stuart Hood.
Carcanet, 186 pp., £10.95, July 1987, 0 85635 719 7
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Dreams of Dead Women’s Handbags 
by Shena Mackay.
Heinemann, 160 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 434 44044 2
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... the Gaedhaltacht areas of Donegal, out of apprehension about its Anglicising effect. George Mackay Brown’s Orkney is an unfamiliar, off-shore locality in which everything seems a little richer through being both concentrated and chancy. How long can its distinctive character survive? It was endangered as long ago as the last quarter of the 19th century, the ...

At Tate Britain

David Craig: Mountain Art, 25 April 2002

... does this most unexpectedly. In Swing, Amjilassa (2000, in progress) a girl in a yellow blouse and brown sari swings on taut white lines from the invisible top of a bamboo framework. In front of her, a great gulf of air; beyond, a steep Nepalese hillside terraced with paddy-fields. The airiness, the suspendedness, the drop are composed to create the sheerness ...

Diary

David Craig: In the Barra Isles, 30 October 1997

... from song-thrush and cuckoo which I heard only. The ground was peopled by their nests and eggs: brown-blotched seagreen of a black-backed gull inside the circular foundation of a ruined cairn; black-spotted brown of a snipe, which fled away in zig-zags when I went for an early morning wash in the burn; ...
Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years 
by Brian Boyd.
Chatto, 783 pp., £25, January 1992, 0 7011 3701 0
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... study which produces an earlier variant on the plausible mismatches of nature’s palette? ‘Brown woolly smoke arched and dipped over the green shadow it cast on the aquamarine lake.’ White matters less than Joyce, about whom Nabokov, on occasion, could be unruefully generous. In one interview, he gave out this undeniable admission: ‘my English is ...

Fox and Crow

David Craig: The Moors, 30 July 2014

The Moor: Lives, Landscape, Literature 
by William Atkins.
Faber, 371 pp., £18.99, May 2014, 978 0 571 29004 8
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... sleeps. What do they smell like? Like honey, steeping the sunshine. What do they look like? Like a brown and purple cloud-shadow spread out across the uplands, described by William Atkins in characteristically fine focus when he says of the North Yorkshire moors that ‘the new blooms were silverish specks; they were pale grey, beige and mint green. I picked a ...

Bird-man swallows human

David Craig: Birds’ Eggs, 19 October 2016

The Most Perfect Thing: Inside (and outside) a Bird’s Egg 
by Tim Birkhead.
Bloomsbury, 288 pp., £16.99, April 2016, 978 1 4088 5125 8
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... central panel a white egg lying on the shore of a lake disgorges into the water a posse of little brown men. In the ‘Hell’ of the right-hand panel a bird-man with blue limbs, a bristling beak and glossy eye swallows a pallid human whole while excreting a transparent blue egg in which a human is enclosed from the waist up. These eggs are nightmarish and ...

The Satoshi Affair

Andrew O’Hagan, 29 June 2016

... a search warrant issued under the Australian Crimes Act 1914. They were looking for a man named Craig Steven Wright, who lived with his wife, Ramona, at 43 St Johns Avenue. The warrant was issued at the behest of the Australian Taxation Office. Wright, a computer scientist and businessman, headed a group of companies associated with cryptocurrency and ...

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