Penelope Gilliatt

  • The Life of Katherine Anne Porter by Joan Givner
    Cape, 572 pp, £15.00, March 1983, ISBN 0 224 02093 5

By God, America is great, and so are its scholarly books. This one is 572 pages long and it took the author twenty years to write. Longer than Katherine Anne Porter found to write the whole of her resplendent work. Joan Givner’s book might be called light plane reading, except that it is heartlessly grave, gravid though fruitless, and would take the most receptive astronauts a moon-flight to try to sleep through, its dulled prose keeping them tossing and turning all the way.

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