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30 August 1990
People of the Black Mountains. Vol. II: The Eggs of the Eagle 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 330 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 7011 3564 6
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In the Blue Light of African Dreams 
by Paul Watkins.
Heinemann, 282 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 09 174307 9
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Friedrich Harris: Shooting the hero 
by Philip Purser.
Quartet, 250 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 0 7043 2759 7
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The Journey Home 
by Dermot Bolger.
Viking, 294 pp., £13.99, June 1990, 0 670 83215 4
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Evenings at Mongini’s 
by Russell Lucas.
Heinemann, 262 pp., £12.95, January 1990, 0 434 43646 1
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... realistic in conception, is more implausible than intended, but details and dialogue often ring true: the book is a vigorous complaint about the condition of Ireland. Evenings at Mongini’s is RussellLucas’s first collection of stories, but his name is well-remembered by those who were addicted to the literary competitions of the New Statesman, twenty to thirty years ago: his entries were often ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: The gangster movie

13 December 2007
American Gangster 
directed by Ridley Scott.
November 2007
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... by the title, a little overhaunted by past masterpieces and in the end perhaps dwarfed by them, but gripping and troubling all the way through. The film is based on the ‘true story’ of Frank Lucas, a black gangster who reigned in Harlem from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, when he went to jail for 15 years – a sentence reduced from 70 years because he named the policemen he had been paying ...

For ever England

John Lucas

16 June 1983
Sherston’s Progress 
by Siegfried Sassoon.
Faber, 150 pp., £2.25, March 1983, 9780571130337
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The War Poems of Siegfried Sassoon 
by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Faber, 160 pp., £5.25, March 1983, 0 571 13010 0
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Siegfried Sassoon Diaries 1915-1918 
edited by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Faber, 288 pp., £10.50, March 1983, 0 571 11997 2
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... front, and that his clearest, most reasonable argument against the war emerges in the letter – in the composition of which he was undoubtedly helped by the Garsington set, particularly by Bertrand Russell. Yet the version of events which the narrator of Sherston’s Progress chooses to set down hardly does justice to those same events insofar as they can be recovered from the Diary. The reason is ...


Alan Bennett: My 2006

4 January 2007
... at me. ‘I do. To my cost.’ 20 February. One of the pleasures of painting, even if it’s only the wall which I’m currently engaged on, is to be able to visit Cornelissen’s shop in Great Russell Street, which sells all manner of paints and colours and where I go this morning in order to find some varnish to seal the surface of the plaster. After I’d finished putting on all the greenish ...

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