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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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... mother (Fielding dedicated the novel to her ‘mum … for not being like Bridget’s’). Chick-lit novelists have stuck with this style, and their books continue to sell. Finding Myself, TobyLitt’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 ...

Short Cuts

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

22 February 2001
... fêted bad boy of Russian fiction, whose 1993 collection of short stories, The Blue Lantern, has this month been reissued in English (Faber, £6.99), has a new rival. And I don’t mean TobyLitt, 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 ...

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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... none of this quite explains Collings’s cheery chat, or the studied and much imitated banality of William Leith’s Observer column, or the join-the-dots phrasing of a new and praised novelist like TobyLitt. 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 ...

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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... husband resolutely missing the point by planning to send his wife a sonnet every day for a year fails to capture the pathos of self-delusion. There’s a much more sinister black humour at work in TobyLitt’s ‘The Puritans’, in which a couple making a fast buck copying porn films are unwittingly drawn into a dangerous situation. Litt makes the best of the minimalism imposed on him by ...

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