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6 February 1986
Jackdaw Cake: ‘An Autobiography’ 
by Norman Lewis.
Hamish Hamilton, 214 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 241 11689 9
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... Would we buy a used car from NormanLewis? He certainly seems to know a lot about them. There is a picture on the dust-cover of the young Lewis (he was born in 1918) proudly at the wheel of a Bugatti, and he describes, too briefly, his dangerous experience with such a machine at Brooklands in 1939, his last adventure in serious motor-racing ...

Seeing Things

John Bayley

18 July 1996
The World, the World 
by Norman Lewis.
Cape, 293 pp., £18.99, April 1996, 0 224 04234 3
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Omnibus: ‘A Dragon Apparent’, ‘Golden Earth’, ‘A Goddess in the Stones’ 
by Norman Lewis.
Picador, 834 pp., £9.99, January 1996, 0 330 33780 7
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... two tremendously authentic indigenes, complete with bows and arrows and wearing only a curl of string round their penises. He looks like a sales rep, come to show them a new line in tupperware. But NormanLewis has always maintained a low profile when it comes to exploring. His admirable series of travel books and travel novels, informative, neatly written, and full of a dry detached humour, make ...

Enfield was nothing

P.N. Furbank: Norman Lewis

18 December 2003
The Tomb in Seville 
by Norman Lewis.
Cape, 150 pp., £14.99, November 2003, 0 224 07120 3
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... does not absolutely have to describe a journey or travelling. It can be about a stay, perhaps lengthy, in a single foreign spot. We might call it ‘acclimatisation’. The point is very relevant to NormanLewis. Lewis, who died in July at the age of 95, began a career as a travel writer in 1935, with a facetious entertainment entitled Spanish Adventure, which he later did his best to suppress and blot ...

Doctor, Doctor

D.A.N. Jones

19 April 1984
The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea 
by Randolph Stow.
Secker, 276 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 436 49734 4
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The Suburbs of Hell 
by Randolph Stow.
Secker, 165 pp., £7.95, April 1984, 0 436 49735 2
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Kingsley’s Touch 
by John Collee.
Allen Lane, 206 pp., £6.95, March 1984, 0 7139 1633 8
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A Suitable Case for Corruption 
by Norman Lewis.
Hamish Hamilton, 185 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 241 11178 1
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... Three of these novels might almost be called thrillers, their plots resembling sensational news items. With NormanLewis we read of plans to assassinate statesmen in Egypt and Libya, with evil American agents blackmailing honest Britishers. John Collee tells of a wonder cure for cancer devised by a Hindu mystic in a ...

Candle Moments

Andrew O’Hagan: Norman Lewis’s Inventions

25 September 2008
Semi-Invisible Man: The Life of Norman​ Lewis 
by Julian Evans.
Cape, 792 pp., £25, June 2008, 978 0 224 07275 5
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... eating an orange and to describe how he managed it; it also seemed natural for him to set moral traps to catch the movement of his subject’s character, his strategies of revelation and concealment. NormanLewis met Hemingway in December 1957 outside Havana. The visit proved a shocking disappointment; it was also a warning. Hemingway sloped around his bedroom in pyjamas, gulping huge glasses of ...
13 October 1988
The Missionaries 
by Norman Lewis.
Secker, 245 pp., £10.95, May 1988, 0 436 24595 7
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... of the Wycliffe Bible translators. Missionaries is a book in this tradition, but its canvas is broader, its style more personal and episodic and its condemnation of the missionaries more unequivocal. NormanLewis is a writer of unusual anthropological sensibility with an honourable record in the field: government policy in Brazil was changed as a result of the international protests which followed his ...
8 February 1996
The Pillars of Hercules: A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 523 pp., £17.50, November 1995, 0 241 13504 4
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... Graham Greene spun Journey without Maps out of a few weeks’ trek into the Liberian interior, an itinerary further truncated by illness; for Voices of the Old Sea, perhaps his best travel-book, NormanLewis hung out in a small Portuguese fishing village. Theroux’s mileage always clocks up a high four figures. And while desultory, capricious travel tends to reveal its elusive agenda only ...

Dying Falls

John Lanchester

23 July 1987
Temporary Shelter 
by Mary Gordon.
Bloomsbury, 231 pp., £11.95, July 1987, 0 7475 0006 1
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Bluebeard’s Egg 
by Margaret Atwood.
Cape, 287 pp., £10.95, June 1987, 0 224 02245 8
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The Native 
by David Plante.
Chatto, 122 pp., £9.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3247 7
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The March of the Long Shadows 
by Norman Lewis.
Secker, 232 pp., £10.95, May 1987, 0 436 24620 1
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... Philip and for Antoinette, her death seems to confirm the existence of their kind of God: as she weakens and dies, they grow closer, a process which has a lot to do with realising how alike they are. NormanLewis is not famous for being an advocate of literary Post-Modernism, but the title of his book The Sicilian Specialist comes close to flirting with self-referentiality. The March of the Long Shadows ...

At the Malin Gallery

Adam Shatz: Oliver Lee Jackson

23 February 2020
... as challenging or ‘interrogating’ racial perception. The struggle against racism is neither the subject nor the underlying theme of his work, any more than it is in the paintings of Alma Thomas, NormanLewis, Jack Whitten, Ed Clark or Frank Bowling.Jackson belongs in the company of these black modernists, who are only now being recognised by museums that have long ignored them. White institutions ...
5 April 1984
Industry, Unions and Government: Twenty-One Years of NEDC 
by Keith Middlemas.
Macmillan, 240 pp., £17.50, January 1984, 0 333 35121 5
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Strikes in Post-War Britain: A Study of Stoppages of Work Due to Industrial Disputes, 1946-73 
by J.W. Durcan, W.E.J. McCarthy and G.P. Redman.
Allen and Unwin, 448 pp., £20, November 1983, 0 04 331093 1
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Picketing: Industrial Disputes, Tactics and the Law 
by Peggy Kahn, Norman Lewis, Rowland Livock and Paul Wiles.
Routledge, 223 pp., £5.95, April 1983, 0 7100 9534 1
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... The incredible frequency of these strikes proves best of all the extent to which the social war has broken out all over England. No week passes, scarcely a day, indeed, in which there is not a strike in some direction, now against a reduction, then against a refusal to raise the rate of wages ... sometimes against new machinery, or for a hundred other reasons. These strikes, at first skirmishes, sometimes ...

Top Grumpy’s Top Hate

Robert Irwin: Richard Aldington’s Gripes

18 February 1999
Richard Aldington and Lawrence of Arabia: A Cautionary Tale 
by Fred Crawford.
Southern Illinois, 265 pp., £31.95, July 1998, 0 8093 2166 1
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Lawrence the Uncrowned King of Arabia 
by Michael Asher.
Viking, 419 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 670 87029 3
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... his cult of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom ‘with its homosexual passages which are piously committed to memory by the fraternity’. Although Aldington managed to remain on friendly terms with Norman Douglas and Pino Orioli until their deaths, it was a close-run thing, for both were homosexual. ‘Norman himself was apt to describe some of the men he disliked as “the wrong kind of sod, my dear ...

Whakapapa

D.A.N. Jones

21 November 1985
The Prague Orgy 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 89 pp., £5.95, October 1985, 0 224 02815 4
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Loyalties 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 378 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 7011 2843 7
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Cousin Rosamund 
by Rebecca West.
Macmillan, 295 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 333 39797 5
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The Battle of Pollocks Crossing 
by J.L. Carr.
Viking, 176 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 670 80559 9
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The Bone People 
by Keri Hulme.
Hodder, 450 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 340 37024 6
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... a shower of technical bullshit, but sooner or later ... ’ Raymond Williams also offers a quick, two-sided sketch of a new sort of British security officer in 1984. (His story begins in 1936.) Gwyn Lewis, under security scrutiny, is surprised by the appearance of his interrogator: ‘the very expensive City suit, the healthy confidence of skin and voice, the profound self assurance of manner and ...
8 September 1994
The Life and Death of Peter Sellers 
by Roger Lewis.
Century, 817 pp., £20, April 1994, 0 7126 3801 6
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... his estranged fourth wife, Lynne Frederick, who kept it all to herself, married David Frost with indecent haste and recently died in California of a drug overdose. So much for the facts. One of Roger Lewis’s main achievements in his new and frankly enormous biography – at least four times longer than any of the others – is to have fleshed this skeleton out to the point of corpulence with a great ...
4 December 1980
Lewis​ Namier and Zionism 
by Norman​ Rose.
Oxford, 182 pp., £9.95, October 1980, 0 19 822621 7
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Personal Impressions 
by Isaiah Berlin.
Hogarth, 219 pp., £9.50, October 1980, 0 7012 0510 5
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... At All Souls in 1932, Lewis Namier provoked Isaiah Berlin by scornfully dismissing the history of ideas – dismissing it in German, though the rest of the conversation (or rather harangue) was conducted in English – as ...

‘I love you, defiant witch!’

Michael Newton: Charles Williams

7 September 2016
Charles Williams: The Third Inkling 
by Grevel Lindop.
Oxford, 493 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 0 19 928415 3
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... and the things of the world, Williams expressed a creed that justified their position. He prided himself on being the only person who could claim the friendship of those arch-enemies C.S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot. Lewis and Williams both aimed at the disruption of the realist novel though the use of erudite fantasy, drawing on Dante and Plato and Milton; they wanted to make contemporary England ...

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