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American Pastoral/Philip Roth

Readers may recall that I kept this book by my loo as an aid to constipation. Occasionally when a passage of writing engrossed me it moved location but before long was back in its place of residence. It’s problem is that it is long, over-detailed, wordy and there is no narrational time arc. [...]

July 7, 2020 // 0 Comments

The Professional/W.C Heinz

I can think of many excellent boxing films – Someone up There loves Me, Rocky and Raging Bull – and some great writers and writings on the Noble Art of Boxing, but it’s fiction is harder to find. This is why I enjoyed The Professional.  It’s the story of Eddie Brown [...]

June 19, 2020 // 0 Comments

The Mystery of Henri Pick/ David Foenkinos

The Mystery of Henri Pick is all the reading rage in France. David Foenkinos It is the story of a manuscript discovered in a library in Cruzon, Brittany, which has a section devoted to unpublished works by wannabe writers. A young editress of the publishing house Grassset called Delphine sees her [...]

June 15, 2020 // 0 Comments

Bill Naughton

I  was asked to submit films to a list based on the theme of “As good as or better than the book on which it was based”. One of my submissions Alfie was correctly rejected as it began life not as a novel but a BBC radio play. I should have known this as the writer Bill Naughton was a [...]

May 20, 2020 // 0 Comments

Hitler’s Peace/Philip Kerr

Philip Kerr died a few years ago. So I was both surprised and grateful for this posthumous publication. The story is that the Nazis realised that by 1943 they could not win WW2 and devised a plot to assassinate the Big Three (Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin) at the Tehran Conference. At the same [...]

May 18, 2020 // 0 Comments

VE-Day commemorations and something quite different

With the 75th anniversary of VE Day coming up on Friday (8th May) I had in advance ‘scheduled for recording’ last night’s 8.00pm offering on Channel Four of VE Day in Colour – Britain’s Biggest Party but then watched it as it went out anyway. As it happens I found its mix of colour and [...]

May 4, 2020 // 0 Comments

The Battle of the Atlantic/Jonathan Dimbleby

There is a new type of historian about – one who is not an academic but in the media, like Sir Max Hastings or Jonathan Dimbleby who has written the above account which I read as an audio book  narrated by him. Like most history books it is far too long and would benefit from editing. It is [...]

April 29, 2020 // 0 Comments

Philip Roth/aid to constipation

I am reading Philip Roth’s American Pastoral. To be more exact I’m reading it on the loo and finding it beneficial to the mild constipation from which I suffer. It’s a mighty tome and like many of Roth’s novels about his upbringing in Newark, New Jersey. The story  is of a magnificent [...]

April 25, 2020 // 0 Comments

Trace Elements/Donna Leon

Donna Leon is an American crime writer who has spent much of her life in Venice and now lives in Switzerland. She has written several detective novels set in Venice  featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti and this is the latest. A woman is dying of cancer in a hospice and confides her husband’s [...]

April 16, 2020 // 0 Comments

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