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Children’s Fiction and the Past

Nicholas Tucker, 17 July 1980

The Lord of Greenwich 
by Juliet Dymoke.
Dobson, 224 pp., £4.95, April 1980, 0 234 72165 0
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A Flight of Swans 
by Barbara Willard.
Kestrel, 185 pp., £4.50, May 1980, 0 7226 5438 3
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Fanny and the Battle of Potter’s Piece 
by Penelope Lively.
Heinemann, 45 pp., £3.50, June 1980, 9780434949373
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John Diamond 
by Leon Garfield.
Kestrel, 180 pp., £4.50, April 1980, 9780722656198
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by Hans Peter Richter.
Kestrel, 150 pp., £4.50, June 1980, 0 7226 5285 2
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I was there 
by Hans Peter Richter.
Kestrel, 187 pp., £4.50, June 1980, 0 7226 6434 6
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The Time of the Young Soldiers 
by Hans Peter Richter.
Kestrel, 128 pp., £3.95, June 1980, 0 7226 5122 8
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The Runaway Train 
by Penelope Farmer.
Heinemann, 48 pp., £3.50, June 1980, 0 434 94938 8
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... of things. A corrective to any over-nostalgic view of history can always be found in the novels of Leon Garfield – probably the most consistently rewarding author writing for children today. His latest book, John Diamond, is well up to form, and concerns a 12-year-old boy from the country who becomes almost fatally embroiled in the slums and rookeries ...

To be continued

Brigid Brophy, 6 November 1980

The Mystery of Edwin Drood 
by Charles Dickens and Leon Garfield.
Deutsch, 327 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 0 233 97257 9
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... the as it were ‘ring sense’ he had by then reliably cultivated for writing to an exact length. Leon Garfield has opted for the diffident method of completion and has produced an honourable and, where style is concerned, mainly plausible fake. Perhaps at the dictate of publishing economics, he falls far shorter than Dickens did. To fulfil Dickens’s ...

In praise of Brigid Brophy

John Bayley, 5 March 1987

Baroque ’n’ Roll 
by Brigid Brophy.
Hamish Hamilton, 172 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 241 12037 3
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... on Murasaki and Fanny Burney, and an analysis of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and its conclusion by Leon Garfield, coming up with the intriguing suggestion that Dickens – who can tell what the unconscious of that great novelist may have got up to? – made John Jasper more in love with Edwin than he is with Rosa. I also much enjoyed the essay on Lady ...

Exceptionally Wonderful Book

John Sutherland, 6 October 1994

Knowledge of Angels 
by Jill Paton Walsh.
Green Bay in association with Colt, 268 pp., £14.99, July 1994, 0 948845 05 8
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... output has been full-length novels for the teen market, a field in which she is, with writers like Leon Garfield, a leading practitioner. Take away some paragraphs of sex, torture and theology, and Knowledge of Angels could easily transplant to the other genre. Not that Walsh is a novice with stories for grown-ups. The dust-jacket states that Knowledge of ...

His Dark Example

Colin Burrow: ‘The Book of Dust’, 4 January 2018

The Book of Dust, Vol. I: La Belle Sauvage 
by Philip Pullman.
David Fickling, 546 pp., £20, October 2017, 978 0 385 60441 3
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Daemon Voices: Essays on Storytelling 
by Philip Pullman.
David Fickling, 480 pp., £20, October 2017, 978 1 910200 96 4
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... meet their queen, briefly), and the movement between worlds. Pullman without those things becomes Leon Garfield (whom he greatly and rightly admires) plus daemons and sex. The principal villain in La Belle Sauvage is a paedophilic physicist called Gerard Bonneville, who has a three-legged hyena for a daemon and who pursues the Belle Sauvage down the ...

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