Blake Morrison

There is nothing like the threatened demise of a newspaper to bring out a journalist’s sentimentality. The disclosure, some weeks ago, that the 201-year-old Observer was to be sold, and might disappear, was the occasion for some stirring comment about the paper, both from people who properly respect its liberal traditions and from people who have spent years talking it down. In the event the Observer was bought not by Newspaper Publishing plc, which intended to merge the title with the Independent on Sunday, but by the Guardian, which will keep it going.

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[*] Cape, 328 pp., £17.99, 20 May, 0 224 03530 4.