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Crusoe and Daughter

Patricia Craig

20 June 1985
Crusoe’s Daughter 
by Jane Gardam.
Hamish Hamilton, 224 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11526 4
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The Tie that Binds 
by Kent Haruf.
Joseph, 246 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 7181 2561 4
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Hannie Richards, or The Intrepid Adventures of a Restless Wife 
by Hilary Bailey.
Virago, 265 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 9780860683469
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A Fine Excess 
by Jane​ Ellison.
Secker, 183 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 436 14601 0
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Victory over Japan 
by Ellen Gilchrist.
Faber, 277 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 571 13446 7
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... biography, fiction and all inform that eccentric piece of writing). These, at best, are neither extensions nor offshoots, but playful and original tributes to the work that’s set them off. With JaneGardam’s latest novel the background book, and enriching ingredient, is Robinson Crusoe. Mrs Gardam is not new to the practice. The Summer after the Funeral (1973) has a heroine (aged 16 – it’s ...

Thank God for Betty

Tessa Hadley: Jane Gardam

11 March 2010
The Man in the Wooden Hat 
by Jane Gardam.
Chatto, 213 pp., £14.99, September 2009, 978 0 7011 7798 0
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... the way we live now. The least detail, captured in the right words, is eloquent: it was real, we could have reached and touched it, now it’s gone. Implicitly, change is these writers’ subject. JaneGardam has been the recorder of aspects of Englishness for a long time: more than 20 novels over the past 40 years. Her latest, The Man in the Wooden Hat, addresses itself to the presumptions and ...
22 December 1983
The Other Side of the Fire 
by Alice Thomas Ellis.
Duckworth, 156 pp., £7.95, November 1983, 0 7156 1809 1
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London Tales 
edited by Julian Evans.
Hamish Hamilton, 309 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 241 11123 4
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Londoners 
by Maureen Duffy.
Methuen, 240 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 413 49350 4
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Good Friends, Just 
by Anne Leaton.
Chatto, 152 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 7011 2710 4
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... She thought it extraordinary that there was so much sin around when it made the perpetrator feel so ghastly.’ Charles and Philip are touched in more lightly, but they are real enough. Like Jane Austen, Alice Thomas Ellis can describe women’s lives so well because she understands men perfectly. More prominent in the story is Sylvie’s daughter, who is notionally reading Greats but ...

Short is sharp

John Sutherland

3 February 1983
Firebird 2 
edited by T.J. Binding.
Penguin, 284 pp., £2.95, January 1983, 0 14 006337 4
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Bech is Back 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 195 pp., £6.95, January 1983, 0 233 97512 8
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The Pangs of Love 
by Jane Gardam.
Hamish Hamilton, 156 pp., £7.50, February 1983, 0 241 10942 6
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The Man Who Sold Prayers 
by Margaret Creal.
Dent, 198 pp., £7.95, January 1983, 9780460045926
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Happy as a Dead Cat 
by Jill Miller.
Women’s Press, 120 pp., £2.50, January 1983, 9780704338982
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... first tentative experiments with hypnosis and Isaac Babel’s tragic vanishing within Stalin’s Siberian charnel houses.’ Shorter is Time: ‘Bech surprises.’ The short story would seem to be JaneGardam’s criticism of life. Her view of things is sharp, yielding nothing more expressive than tolerant amusement at some of life’s more elegant little ironies. In what I take to be the best ...

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