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7 February 1980
The Wapshot Chronicle 
by John Cheever.
Harper and Row, 549 pp., £6.95, November 1980, 0 06 337007 7
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Florence Avenue 
by Elizabeth North.
Gollancz, 158 pp., £4.95, October 1980, 0 575 02680 4
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McKay’s Bees 
by Thomas McMahon.
Constable, 198 pp., £4.95, November 1980, 0 09 463120 4
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The Siesta 
by Patrice Chaplin.
Duckworth, 174 pp., £5.95, November 1980, 0 7156 1459 2
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... John Cheever’s two celebrated novels, The Wapshot Chronicle and The Wapshot Scandal, are now reissued in one volume. In this form, we can see that the two are really one and the end was always implied in the beginning. We are often told that the American novel is not very deeply rooted in the social world, that in a society so fluid and so quickly changing fiction hardly has time to take stock of the way things actually work and tends to blow up into some kind of surreal fantasy ...

Lethal Specks

Hugh Pennington: Polonium

14 December 2006
... not changed in their fundamentals. In 1943, Robert Oppenheimer assigned its production to Charles Thomas, central research director of the Monsanto chemical company. He set up a laboratory in the indoor tennis court of his mother-in-law’s large and remote estate in Dayton, Ohio. The polonium was made by irradiating slugs of bismuth metal in one of the new ...

Diary

Edna Longley: Ireland by Others

17 September 1987
... propagandas. Irish critics with a Nationalist perspective deconstruct (ungratefully) the legacy of Thomas Moore – strictly for the English, like Arnold’s Celticism – but not the patriotic ballads of Thomas Davis. Those who are truly purist about Irish traditional music, including a number of Northern ...

Diary

John Lanchester: Among the Balls

20 July 2006
... if we were out there on the pitch, our team’s shirt proudly stretched over our stomachs. Steve McMahon and Jan Molby were two noticeably porky players whose podginess helped win a place in fans’ hearts. I remember Molby used to be greeted by affectionate chants of ‘Sumo’ – at least, until he was done for drunk driving, when the chant was replaced ...

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