Excellent Enigmas

Christopher Reid

  • Lies and Secrets by John Fuller
    Secker, 70 pp, £3.50, October 1980, ISBN 0 436 16753 0
  • Crossing by John Matthias
    Anvil, 125 pp, £3.25, October 1980, ISBN 0 85646 035 4
  • Growing Up by Michael Horovitz
    Allison and Busby, 96 pp, £4.95, October 1980, ISBN 0 85031 232 9
  • Report to the Working Party. Asylum. Otiose [preceded by] After by Anthony Barnett
    Nothing Doing, 121 pp, £4.80, August 1980, ISBN 0 901494 17 8

Doubts, prevarications, velleities, different kinds of inability to act: these are the overt themes of many of the poems in John Fuller’s inventive new volume. The title, Lies and Secrets, does not belong to any one poem, but is a warning that no statement found in the book should be relied on either for straightforwardness or for a disclosure of the whole truth. Stories are narrated by characters who may be cagey, volatile, fanciful, captious, even self-deceiving. In the past, John Fuller has been a cunning contriver of riddles on a small scale, but here the design is grander. The verse is protean and the reader, like Neoptolemos, must grapple with fickle forms until the plain truth stands revealed.

The full text of this book review is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.

You are not logged in