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Riding the Night Winds

Ron Ridenhour, 22 June 1995

Derailed in Uncle Ho’s Victory Garden: Return to Vietnam and Cambodia 
by Tim Page.
Touchstone, 248 pp., £14.99, April 1995, 0 671 71926 2
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In the Lake of the Woods 
by Tim O’Brien.
Flamingo, 306 pp., £5.99, April 1995, 0 00 654395 2
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In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam 
by Robert McNamara.
Random House, 432 pp., $27.50, April 1995, 0 8129 2523 8
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... Each, in his own way, is introducing us to his own ghosts. Two, former British war photographer Tim Page and former American grunt Tim O’Brien, face the darkness squarely. The third, former US Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara, merely pretends to. In his own way, however, each writer tells the story of a quest ...

Wild-Eyed and Ready to Die

Mary Hawthorne: Dawn Powell, 22 February 2001

The Diaries of Dawn Powell 1931-65 
edited by Tim Page.
Steerforth, 513 pp., $19, October 1999, 1 883642 25 6
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... For more than thirty years, until her death in 1965, Dawn Powell lived and worked ceaselessly in Greenwich Village. She produced 15 novels, set in Manhattan or the small towns of her native Ohio, half a dozen plays, more than a hundred short stories and countless reviews and magazine articles (she regarded her work for Mademoiselle and the New Yorker with equal disdain ...

Not Enjoying Herself

Jenny Diski: Princess Margaret, 16 August 2007

Princess Margaret: A Life Unravelled 
by Tim Heald.
Weidenfeld, 346 pp., £20, July 2007, 978 0 297 84820 2
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... die for. Short though. A pocket Venus, they called her, barely five feet tall. But, according to Tim Heald, her latest biographer, who has previously committed to paper the lives of Brian Johnston,2 Denis Compton,3 Barbara Cartland4 and Prince Philip,5like the other four biographical subjects she was also a household word in her day. This had nothing to do ...

At the Gay Hussar

John Sutherland, 20 August 1981

One and Last Love 
by John Braine.
Eyre Methuen, 175 pp., £6.50, June 1981, 0 413 47990 0
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Sweetsir 
by Helen Yglesias.
Hodder, 332 pp., £6.95, August 1981, 9780340270424
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On the Yankee Station 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 184 pp., £7.95, July 1981, 0 241 10426 2
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Byzantium endures 
by Michael Moorcock.
Secker, 404 pp., £6.95, June 1981, 0 436 28458 8
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Heavy Sand 
by Anatoli Rybakov, translated by Harold Shuckman.
Allen Lane, 380 pp., £7.95, June 1981, 0 7139 1343 6
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... it must have crossed Braine’s mind to call his latest novel ‘Love at the Top’. The hero is Tim Harnforth, a 56-year-old best-selling novelist and man of letters. Originally from the West Riding, he is now one of the gens du monde, ‘a high-flyer, a metropolitan man’, literary-lioning it in London. Young admirers come up to him in pubs and say: ‘Mr ...

The Grey Boneyard of Fifties England

Iain Sinclair, 22 August 1996

A Perfect Execution 
by Tim Binding.
Picador, 344 pp., £15.99, May 1996, 0 330 34564 8
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... Tim Binding is a confident writer. His paragraphs, lengthy but under control, take swift possession of the thick sheaf of pages, imposing form. The narrative voice is modestly assertive. There is a tale to be told. The taleteller, having caught your attention, will not let go. No tricks, no mannerisms, no eye-catching Modernist flourishes: that’s the trick of it ...

The Global Id

John Lanchester: Is Google a good thing?, 26 January 2006

The Google Story 
by David Vise.
Macmillan, 326 pp., £14.99, November 2005, 1 4050 5371 2
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The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture 
by John Battelle.
Nicholas Brealey, 311 pp., £16.99, September 2005, 1 85788 361 6
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... era (that’s the palaeolithic era in the internet sense, i.e. autumn 1997) its co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were graduate computer science students at Stanford. They were working on an insanely cool new search engine, wanted to incorporate it as a company, and needed to find a name. David Vise, in his breezy book The Google Story, tells how they ...

Who would have thought it?

Neal Ascherson, 8 March 1990

The Uses of Adversity 
by Timothy Garton Ash.
Granta, 352 pp., £5.99, September 1989, 0 14 014018 2
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... qualities would fulfil the required standards better than Vaclav Havel. But how about this – Tim Garton Ash writing about the Czech Chartists in 1984? If ever a real thaw comes – from above? after change in Moscow? – they will be ready with their busts of Tomas Masaryk, their editions of Franz Kafka and their memorials to Jan Palach. They know from ...

Tucked in and under

Jenny Turner: Tim Parks, 30 September 1999

Destiny 
by Tim Parks.
Secker, 249 pp., £15.99, September 1999, 0 436 22088 1
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... Can this beautiful young model be thinking?’ Tim Parks asks at one point in this book. ‘One hopes not,’ the argument continues, as Parks’s narrator looks through an airline magazine, ‘You do not think, I thought, seeing pictures of people pleasure-making on the beach, perhaps in an advertisement for rum or Martini ...

Letting things rip

Wynne Godley, 7 January 1993

Reflections on Monetarism 
by Tim Congdon.
Edward Elgar, 320 pp., £35, November 1992, 1 85278 441 5
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... This book brings together the ‘most important academic papers and journalism’ of Professor Tim Congdon, described in the blurb as ‘one of the City’s most well-known commentators’. Congdon’s provocative thesis is that ‘monetarism’, as adopted by British governments between 1976 and 1985, was a decisive success, but that the gains were lost when Nigel Lawson let things rip, causing a boom that had to go bust ...

Behaving like Spiders

Tim Flannery: The Holocene summer of social evolution, 24 June 2004

The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilisation 
by Brian Fagan.
Granta, 284 pp., £20, May 2004, 1 86207 644 8
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... which is developed alongside two innovative hypotheses. ‘Climate,’ he writes on his final page, ‘has helped shape civilisation, but not by being benign.’ In many ways this is a climatic version of ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’; but it also represents a novel approach, for until now archaeologists have been more inclined to point ...

Prajapati

Tim Parks: Hugging a fraud, 19 February 1998

... and past historics. He seemed confident enough. To impress my wife I said: ‘Take any page of this book, underline every verb you come across and explain the cases to me.’ Finding it open where I had left off, he studied this very page I am now translating. Then me phone rang, or there was someone at the ...

Dangerous Faults

Frank Kermode, 4 November 1993

Shear 
by Tim Parks.
Heinemann, 214 pp., £13.99, August 1993, 0 434 57745 6
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... This is Tim Parks’s sixth novel. He has also done some serious translation – Moravia, Calvino, Calasso’s The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony – and written a lively book about his life in Italy. And now, by way of explaining the highly technical lexicon of Shear, he tells us in an Author’s Note that he did ‘years of work for the Italian quarrying industry’: consequently ‘a huge burden of geological/mechanical vocabulary ...

Tight in the Cockpit

Joanna Kavenna: Tim Parks’s ‘The Rapids’, 5 May 2005

Rapids 
by Tim Parks.
Secker, 246 pp., £15.99, March 2005, 0 436 20559 9
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... Tim Parks’s latest novel opens in the forests of the South Tyrol, where a group of white-water enthusiasts are taking a kayaking holiday. The river is overflowing with melt water from a thawing glacier, and the kayakers find themselves endangered by the force of the current, as the river runs ever faster and fuller ...

Swiftly Encircling Gloom

Tim Radford, 8 May 1997

Promising The Earth 
by Robert Lamb.
Routledge, 204 pp., £35, September 1996, 0 415 14443 4
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... Ziggy Stardust himself to dedicate a performance to Save the Whale. FoE also took out quarter-page adverts in the Times, signed by famous people. One veteran recalls: ‘We got a call from Peter Scott to say: “Why haven’t you asked HRH to sign it?” That was a day! We knew we had arrived in that field at least.’ It seems fair to say that someone ...

Sisters

John Sutherland, 4 June 1981

Tit for Tat 
by Verity Bargate.
Cape, 167 pp., £5.95, April 1981, 0 224 01908 2
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Watching Me, Watching You 
by Fay Weldon.
Hodder, 208 pp., £6.95, May 1981, 0 340 25600 1
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Maggie Muggins 
by Keith Waterhouse.
Joseph, 220 pp., £6.95, May 1981, 0 7181 2014 0
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Mr Lonely 
by Eric Morecambe.
Eyre Methuen, 189 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 413 48170 0
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... Grown up, she is seduced and bullied into a septic abortion by her timid, clap-ridden fiancé Tim. He changes his mind, but too late: Sadie is sterile. Tim, now a selfish husband, knows this, but lets the ignorant heroine attend the infertility clinic for a year before some friendly lady gynaecologist breaks the male ...

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