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Truly Terrifying Things

Walter Nash, 10 January 1991

51 Soko: To the Islands on the Other Side of the World 
by Michael Westlake.
Polygon, 258 pp., £8.95, September 1990, 0 7486 6085 2
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Behind the Waterfall 
by Chinatsy Nakayama.
Virago, 213 pp., £12.99, November 1990, 1 85381 269 2
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Dirty Faxes, and Other Stories 
by Andrew Davies.
Methuen, 243 pp., £13.99, October 1990, 0 413 63270 9
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... Yoshi kept coming to mind as I puzzled, eased, or intermittently ground and grinned my way through Michael Westlake’s 51 Soko – an ingenious, teasing, complex, at times impenetrable, often brilliantly parodic book, with a title that reads disconcertingly like a personal number-plate or a cosmetic preparation (‘51 Soko for firmer ...

The Luck of the Tories

Ross McKibbin: The Debt to Kinnock, 7 March 2002

Kinnock: The Biography 
by Martin Westlake.
Little, Brown, 768 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 316 84871 9
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... since Labour began electing ‘leaders’) never to have held a ministerial post – being PPS to Michael Foot for a year does not count. He is the only British party leader to have been an EU Commissioner – and is likely to remain so. As a result his record in ‘government’ is hard to judge, since what the Commissioners do (unless it is thought to be ...

End of the Century

John Sutherland, 13 October 1988

Worlds Apart 
by David Holbrook.
Hale, 205 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 9780709033639
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Story of My Life 
by Jay McInerney.
Bloomsbury, 188 pp., £11.95, August 1988, 0 7475 0180 7
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Forgotten Life 
by Brian Aldiss.
Gollancz, 284 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 575 04369 5
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Incline Our hearts 
by A.N. Wilson.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £11.95, August 1988, 0 241 12256 2
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... came the film version of Bright Lights, Big City, an appalling adaptation with wholesome munchkin Michael J. Fox in the lead. Like the film of Less than Zero, it was neutered by Hollywood’s supine acquiescence in Nancy Reagan’s demand that movies and television should not ‘glorify’ drug-taking. The jagged blackness of the original text was ...

How Movies End

David Thomson: John Boorman’s Quiet Ending, 20 February 2020

Conclusions 
by John Boorman.
Faber, 237 pp., £20, February, 978 0 571 35379 8
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... undistracted by ambition. Boorman may be the most inspired and wayward of English directors since Michael Powell.Not that Powell would have attempted Point Blank. Not that anyone in 1967 had reason to think that a young Englishman raised on the leafy edges of south London (Carshalton, and later Shepperton) would know how to go to Los Angeles (and San ...

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