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Chelsea’s War

Jill Neville

18 July 1985
Love Lessons: A Wartime Diary 
by Joan Wyndham.
Heinemann, 203 pp., £9.95, April 1985, 0 04 348786 6
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... Joan Wyndham began her diary on the brink of her deflowering and of the deflowering of Europe – the latter being a far less engrossing subject to this sexy, self-centred girl. The value of her diary lies in its artlessness. Here is femme moyenne sensuelle, unashamed, with nothing very noble or sensitive to commend her. The Diary of Virginia Woolf it is not. But she preserves for us the street vitality ...

Manliness

D.A.N. Jones

20 December 1984
Last Ferry to Manly 
by Jill Neville.
Penguin, 165 pp., £4.95, October 1984, 0 14 007068 0
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Down from the Hill 
by Alan Sillitoe.
Granada, 218 pp., £7.95, October 1984, 0 246 12517 9
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God Knows 
by Joseph Heller.
Cape, 353 pp., £8.95, November 1984, 0 224 02288 1
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Wilt on High 
by Tom Sharpe.
Secker, 236 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 9780436458118
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... There is a seaside resort in New South Wales, with a ferry connection to Sydney. In 1788 it was named Manly Cove by a state governor, impressed by the proud bearing of the aborigines. They seem to have deteriorated since then, according to Lillian, the heroine of Last Ferry to Manly: she peers at aborigine children through the wire fence of an institution, and notes ‘the shrinking, stick-like way ...

Acts of Violence in Grosvenor Square

Christopher Hitchens: Memoirs of a Revolutionary

4 June 1998
1968: Marching in the Streets 
by Tariq Ali and Susan Watkins.
Bloomsbury, 224 pp., £20, May 1998, 0 7475 3763 1
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The Beginning of the End: France, May 1968 
by Angelo Quattrocchi and Tom Nairn.
Verso, 175 pp., £10, May 1998, 1 85984 290 9
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The Love Germ 
by Jill Neville.
Verso, 149 pp., £9, May 1998, 1 85984 285 2
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... and the digital and cybernetic age. We are left to contemplate mainly the ironies of history – Deutscher’s preferred trope – and the subtle, ironic, even surreptitious influences of language. JillNeville’s rough little diamond of a novel is a case in point. (It’s as bitter to think of her early death as it is of Ron Ridenhour’s.) As the mistress of the above Angelo Quattrocchi in the ...

Bad Dreams

Robert Crawford: Peter Porter

6 October 2011
The Rest on the Flight: Selected Poems 
by Peter Porter.
Picador, 421 pp., £12.99, May 2010, 978 0 330 52218 2
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... English’ in accent and tastes, and was admired for having a figure like a ballet dancer. They set up home together in a London flat below that of Porter’s former partner, the Australian novelist JillNeville. After a fight which seems to have involved Porter throwing Neville into the Thames, the couple had split up. In her 1966 novel Fall-Girl, Neville depicted Porter as Seth, a knuckle-cracking ...

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