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True Stories

Michael Irwin

30 March 1989
Have the men had enough? 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 251 pp., £12.95, March 1989, 0 7011 3400 3
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Aurora’s Motive 
by Erich Hackl, translated by Edna McCown.
Cape, 117 pp., £10.95, March 1989, 0 224 02584 8
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The Open Door 
by Alan Sillitoe.
Grafton, 358 pp., £11.95, February 1989, 0 246 13422 4
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... Neither of these possibilities is dramatised with sufficient energy to make it interesting, but in any case the two can hardly co-exist. Aurora’s Motive’, more baldly, is a true story: in fact, ErichHackl concludes by listing his main sources. His tale is startling and intriguing. Aurora Rodriguez, born 1890, daughter of a Spanish attorney of advanced political opinions, develops in adolescence ...

Stepchildren

Elspeth Barker

9 April 1992
Stepsons 
by Robert Liddell.
Peter Owen, 228 pp., £14.95, February 1992, 0 7206 0853 8
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Farewell Sidonia 
by Erich Hackl.
Cape, 135 pp., £5.99, February 1992, 0 224 02901 0
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... The end-papers of Stepsons show that classic of nostalgia, a family long ago at tea in a summer garden. A laughing aunt clutches a terrier; ranged round the table are a baleful grandmother, an alert little girl, a father scarcely visible and two boys whose faces rend the heart. Gentle, vulnerable, unbearably tense, they are poised for flight. Opposite, as far off as possible, sits their enemy, the ...

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