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Patrick Parrinder

26 July 1990
The Sorrow of Belgium 
by Hugo Claus, translated by Arnold Pomerans.
Viking, 609 pp., £14.99, June 1990, 0 670 81456 3
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by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
Virago, 260 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 1 85381 158 0
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A Sensible Life 
by Mary Wesley.
Bantam, 364 pp., £12.95, March 1990, 9780593019306
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The Light Years 
by Elizabeth Jane Howard.
Macmillan, 418 pp., £12.95, June 1990, 0 333 53875 7
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... later. There are some necessarily inconclusive scenes in London in wartime, where Wesley’s earlier novel The Camomile Lawn was set. As historical fiction A Sensible Life may well be compared with ElizabethJaneHoward’s The Light Years, a narrative of events in 1937 and 1938 which is the first of a planned trilogy spanning the war years. Both like to drip-feed us with nostalgia, and neither is ...

Pour a stiff drink

Tessa Hadley: Elizabeth Jane Howard

6 February 2014
All Change 
by Elizabeth Jane Howard.
Mantle, 573 pp., £18.99, November 2013, 978 0 230 74307 6
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... ElizabethJaneHoward had been a novelist for forty years before she published The Light Years, the first volume of the Cazalet chronicles, in 1990. The fifth and final volume, All Change, was published in 2013, and she ...


Robert Taubman

20 May 1982
A Chain of Voices 
by André Brink.
Faber, 525 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 0 571 11874 7
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How German is it 
by Walter Abish.
Carcanet, 252 pp., £6.75, March 1982, 0 85635 396 5
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Before she met me 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 183 pp., £6.50, April 1982, 0 224 01985 6
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by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 183 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 0 224 01976 7
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Getting it right 
by Elizabeth Jane Howard.
Hamish Hamilton, 264 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 0 241 10805 5
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... love, the people glamorous but neurotic. But he puts it behind him and falls for the girl at work, whom he sets out to educate with his favourite records and books, beginning with The Secret Garden. ElizabethJaneHoward does a good job where she can feel as confident in her values as Cecil Roberts. She enters with zest into the details of hairdressing or Gavin’s mother’s cooking. She is no less ...

The Coat in Question

Iain Sinclair: Margate

20 March 2003
All the Devils Are Here 
by David Seabrook.
Granta, 192 pp., £7.99, March 2003, 9781862075597
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... his name misspelled, and he is banished to the ghetto: ‘See ghost stories and horror’. Seabrook’s disinterested championship of Aickman lasted for years and carried him to an interview with ElizabethJaneHoward, co-author of Aickman’s first book, and to a reconsideration of the values of a certain kind of Englishness. ‘These people did what they wanted to do. They carried on when their work ...


Zachary Leader: Oscar Talk at the Huntington

16 April 1998
...  none of whom Amis had much time for), as well as extensive collections of Stevenson and Jack London, the latter represented by 131,000 items. It has also purchased the archive of the novelist ElizabethJaneHoward, Amis’s second wife. The Huntington’s Rare Book Room closes for an hour at noon and most of its readers stroll across the gardens to a shaded outdoor restaurant. Amis would barely ...
16 November 1995
... concerned with being so socially present as they once were. It isn’t common now to love reading about what we disapprove of in real life. The two Amises continued co-existing. When he married ElizabethJaneHoward they went to live in a big house near Barnet, a matriarchal establishment largely run, it seemed, by his new mother and brother-in-law. Amis rejoiced in this set-up, which seemed to come ...

Sorry to go on like this

Ian Hamilton: Kingsley Amis

1 June 2000
The Letters of Kingsley Amis 
edited by Zachary Leader.
HarperCollins, 1208 pp., £24.99, May 2000, 0 00 257095 5
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... a sizable gap – quite clearly, this was the relationship that mattered most to him – and that gap is not at all made up for by the ardent love missives with which, in the 1960s, he bombarded ElizabethJaneHoward, who became his second wife. These seem forced and self-conscious but maybe they wouldn’t if we did not know how things turned out for these two lovers. After they have split up, Howard ...

Keep yr gob shut

Christopher Tayler: Larkin v. Amis

20 December 2012
The Odd Couple: The Curious Friendship between Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin 
by Richard Bradford.
Robson, 373 pp., £20, November 2012, 978 1 84954 375 0
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... 1974). At the other end of the spectrum, several pages are spent proving that Amis’s Stanley and the Women (1984) – about how all women are bitches – was coloured by his rancorous divorce from ElizabethJaneHoward. Bradford’s Exhibit A, however, is ‘Letter to a Friend about Girls’ (‘After comparing lives with you for years,/I see how I’ve been losing’), which Larkin tinkered with ...

Frocks and Shocks

Hilary Mantel: Jane​ Boleyn

24 April 2008
Jane​ Boleyn: The Infamous Lady Rochford 
by Julia Fox.
Phoenix, 398 pp., £9.99, March 2008, 978 0 7538 2386 6
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... into fiction by the energetic Philippa Gregory. But there is no sign so far that another inert and vacuous feature film will be clogging up the multiplexes. In reworkings of the Tudor soap opera, Jane Boleyn is more often known as Jane Rochford, wife of George Boleyn, sister-in-law to Anne the queen. There are some lives we read backwards, from bloody exit to obscure entrance, and Jane’s is one ...

Do you think he didn’t know?

Stefan Collini: Kingsley Amis

14 December 2006
The Life of Kingsley Amis 
by Zachary Leader.
Cape, 996 pp., £25, November 2006, 0 224 06227 1
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... these years, according to his son’s uncensorious recollection). The stormy bohemianism of their relationship was finally put under intolerable strain when Amis started an affair with the writer ElizabethJaneHoward. Almost immediately, this affair threatened to be different from its innumerable predecessors because Kingsley fell passionately in love with Jane. Hilly finally walked out on him; he and ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Dead Babies

16 November 2000
... as a working title ‘The Martin Amis Project’. There are plenty of references in Dead Babies to other films, a more or less obligatory practice these days. Giles’s mad mother lives at Castle Howard (a.k.a. Brideshead), and at one point Johnny the psycho is about to blow the lock off a door with a shotgun when he thinks better of it and instead smashes in one of the panels with a handy statuette ...

Deadly Eliza

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: ‘The Whole Family: A Novel by Twelve Authors’

1 November 2001
The Whole Family: A Novel by Twelve Authors 
by William Dean Howells et al.
Duke, 416 pp., £13.50, November 2001, 0 8223 2838 0
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Publishing the Family 
by June Howard.
Duke, 304 pp., £13.50, November 2001, 0 8223 2771 6
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... unexpected charge of the plot, Freeman initiated the first of the quarrels that were to trouble the family both within the narrative and outside it. Howells’s letter to the magazine’s editor, Elizabeth Jordan, has not survived, but according to Jordan, it ‘almost scorched the paper it was written on’: ‘Don’t, don’t let her ruin our beautiful story!’ Howells’s original proposal for The ...

How to Be Tudor

Hilary Mantel: Can a King Have Friends?

17 March 2016
Charles Brandon: Henry VIII’s Closest Friend 
by Steven Gunn.
Amberley, 304 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 1 4456 4184 3
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... gilt armour could defeat any other challenger – at least, once early death in a small war had removed some of his rivals. Charles Brandon was part of a coterie of special favourites, with Edward Howard, Thomas Knyvett and Henry Guildford. In 1512, the young king went to war with France. Charles was given command of troops for a sea attack on Brittany, to be led by Edward Howard. With Thomas Knyvett ...
7 October 1993
Elizabeth’s Glass 
by Marc Shell.
Nebraska, 365 pp., £30.95, July 1993, 0 8032 4216 6
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... of genres dealing with the personal cost of the dysfunctional family to include a startling and unlikely candidate: a translation of a mystical meditation into English from French made by Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen. The Glass of the Sinful Soul, as she called it, was not an original work, but a good pupil’s exercise, undertaken in 1544 at the age of 11 as part of her lessons. A long prayer ...

Did You Have Bombs?

Deborah Friedell: ‘The Other Elizabeth​ Taylor’

6 August 2009
The Other Elizabeth​ Taylor 
by Nicola Beauman.
Persephone, 444 pp., £15, April 2009, 978 1 906462 10 9
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... Do novelists come nicer than Elizabeth Taylor? Her mother died of politeness – she developed appendicitis over Christmas, and didn’t want to interrupt the doctor’s holiday – but rather than renounce good manners on the spot, her ...

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