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Grousing

James Francken: Toby Litt

7 August 2003
Finding Myself 
by Toby Litt.
Hamish Hamilton, 425 pp., £14.99, June 2003, 0 241 14155 9
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... Chick-lit novelists have stuck with this style, and their books continue to sell. Finding Myself, Toby Litt’s pastiche of chick lit, leans heavily on the familiar model; the novel’s sassy, stuck-up narrator, Victoria About (pronounced ‘Abut’), cheerfully sticks to type. She is 32, tries to pass herself off as 29, counts the calories (‘think of ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Anna Karenina, New Puritans, Books on Cooking the Books

22 February 2001
... has this month been reissued in English (Faber, £6.99), has a new rival. And I don’t mean Toby Litt, the John Calvin of the New Puritans, though the name of Jonson’s Zeal-of-the-land Busy also comes to mind, what with Litt’s latest 400-pager, deadkidsongs (Hamish Hamilton, £9.99) hitting the bookshops ...

Perishability

Andy Beckett: Bo Fowler

3 September 1998
Scepticism Inc. 
by Bo Fowler.
Cape, 247 pp., £9.99, April 1998, 0 224 05124 5
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... Leith’s Observer column, or the join-the-dots phrasing of a new and praised novelist like Toby Litt. What seems to be happening is a demotion of language: it is employed only for the carrying of information, with a nudge to the reader that the action is elsewhere, in the play of ideas beneath the bland words, in the overall notion of the ...

No Dancing, No Music

Alex Clark: New Puritans

2 November 2000
All Hail the New Puritans 
edited by Nicholas Blincoe and Matt Thorne.
Fourth Estate, 204 pp., £10, September 2000, 1 84115 345 1
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... from the embodiment of a desire for freedom. Blincoe and Thorne find much more to tut about and little to praise in the artform they seek to subvert and redefine. A plea for ‘textual simplicity’ involves not merely the avoidance of rhetoric and authorial asides, or ‘grandstanding in the debating chambers’, but also the rejection of all ‘devices of ...

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