However, this does not mean that A Treacherous Likeness is in any way less influenced by Victorian literature than her previous efforts. If anything, it is more so – because the real people on which this novel is based are none other than the Romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, his wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, and Mary’s step-sister, Claire Clairmont, one-time lover of Lord Byron.
But I’m in danger of getting ahead of myself. Let me begin, as they say, at the beginning.
But, as is always the case in Shepherd’s novels, nothing is what it seems. It isn’t long before Charles finds himself ensnared in a web of lies and deceit borne out of seething jealously, sibling rivalry and unfulfilled love. It is a web which stretches through time and space – from 1814 to 1850, from the valleys of Wales, to northern Italy and the shores of Lake Geneva. It is a web which witnessed the creation of Frankenstein, one of the most celebrated gothic novels ever written, but which could also have given rise to more than one shocking murder.Drawing on all we currently know about the Shelleys and their turbulent lives, A Treacherous Likeness seeks to fill in the many acknowledged gaps in the factual records. Told through the eyes on an omniscient, 21st century narrator (who benefits from both hindsight and advancements in our understanding of psychological disorders), this exhaustively-researched and intricately-plotted novel casts this fêted literary family in an entirely different light.
While this is, undeniably, a work of fiction, it is a very compelling fiction – and one that will leave you questioning all you thought you knew about that ‘dazzling but doomed’ generation.
A Treacherous Likeness by Lynn Shepherd will be published by Corsair in February
As the name suggests, The Evolution of Inanimate Objects: The Life and Collected Works of Thomas Darwin (1857-1879) is the biography of the short, yet eventful, life of one Thomas Darwin, youngest son of the celebrated evolutionary scientist, Charles Darwin.
Except it’s not. The book is, in fact, a novel, and the character of Thomas Darwin is entirely fictitious, the product of the rather lively imagination of author, Harry Karlinsky - as is the account of Thomas’s struggle to emerge from his father’s imposing shadow, his slow descent into madness, and his tragic early death in a Canadian asylum.
However, Karlinsky’s construct is so utterly convincing, the story so absorbing, that I would challenge any reader not to lose sight of the book’s fictional nature at least once during the reading. I, for one, had to remind myself several times that this tragic life had never, in reality, been lived.
This blurring of the lines between reality and illusoriness is achieved by combining actual biographical data of the Darwin family with wholly factitious sources, including the invented correspondence of Charles and his wife, Emma. In taking this approach, the author deftly weaves a tangled web of fact and fantasy, which mirrors the deluded mind of his subject, as it oscillates between the realms of sanity and insanity.
This is a gem of a novel – eccentric, discombobulating, delightful.
For more information of on the Wellcome Trust Book Prize, click here:
“It would appear that I am to be the first to write a book on Gillespie. Who, if not me, was dealt this hand? Indeed, one might say, who is left to tell the tale?”
So begins Gillespie and I, the Orange Prize long-listed second novel by Jane Harris. Set, by turns, in 1880s Glasgow and 1930s London, the story is narrated by the elderly Harriet Baxter. Now almost in her 80s, Harriet has decided to record for posterity the story of her close, if short-lived, friendship with the talented Scottish artist, Ned Gillespie, and his family.
The narrator first encounters the Gillespies during the 1888 International Glasgow Exhibition, at a time when Ned‘s talents are slowly gaining recognition in the elitist Glaswegian art world. Indeed, after years of struggling to make a name for himself, it seems he is finally on the cusp of a professional break-through. And yet, in just a few short years, the once-loving and close-knit Gillespie family has been torn apart, Ned has taken his own life and his artistic legacy destroyed. What could have happened in the intervening years to cause such cataclysmic destruction? It is this question that Harriet sets about answering in this tragic tale of parental love and neglect, wasted devotion and obsession.
From the outset, Harris skilfully conjures an unsettling and insidious sense of foreboding – like a cat toying with her prey, she deftly weaves a plot so complex and unnerving that the reader is left discombobulated, perplexed, unbalanced and disturbed. Indeed, the only thing one is sure of is that nothing is as it seems in this rather brilliant novel. Indeed, reading this book is akin to the slightly panicked feeling one has when stumbling through a hall of mirrors – in each disorienting image we catch glimpses of our actual reflection, but thanks to certain faults, distortions or biases in the glass, the truth remains tantalizingly out of reach …
Thanks in large part to the masterful writing, this is a novel that will stay with you long after you turn the last page. Not to be missed!
'Gillespie and I' is published by Faber and Faber.
This year's Orange Prize short list will be announced on 17 April, and the winner will be unveiled 30 May. For more information, see http://www.orangeprize.co.uk
Let me start by saying I was really looking forward to this book. I'm a fan of Caitlin Moran's columns in Saturday's Times and the book itself, which has been billed as a feminist manifesto to rival Germaine Greeer's The Female Eunuch, has been widely popular (in the UK at least). It has garnered innumerable 5* reviews in the mainstream press and has even won the Galaxy Book of the Year Award last year. With all this positive buzz, this was going to be one great reading experience, right?
Wrong! I'm currently half-way through, and struggling to make it to the end. Although I have only 150 pages to go, they are dragging out before me like a yawning abyss. These last pages are as insurmountable as Everest would be, if I was ever crazy enough to try to climb it - indeed, 800 pages of War and Peace would be preferable to 150 pages of How To Be A Woman.
Another issue I have with this book it's is crudeness. Note to the author - it is not necessary to mention the c-word and f-word on every other page to prove your feminist credentials. We are no longer in the 1970s - you do not have to resort to shock tactics to drive home your feministic point. In fact, maybe if you made an effort to drag yourself out of the gutter occasionally, your argument may be better received. Also, as a reader, I have no desire to be subjected to an entire chapter devoted to your quest to find a suitable name for your vagina and that of your new-born daughter.
On that note, I'd advise anyone considering buying this book to stick instead to her journalistic ramblings - because, if How To Be A Woman proves anything at all, it is the fact that Ms Moran's writing is bearable only in very small doses.
So far, 2012 has been a big year for fans of Charles Dickens. Barely six weeks into the great author’s bicentennial year and we have already been treated to a dizzying array of TV and radio adaptations of his works, not to mention innumerable newspaper and magazine articles analyzing everything from his characters and plots to his enduring influence in our 21st century world.
In fact, so saturated has the media become with all things Dickensian, you would, dear reader, be forgiven for feeling just a little bit tired of it all. (Personally, I’m expecting the phrase ‘Dickens fatigue’ to enter the OED any day now.)
But, before you take the rash step of swearing off Charles-bloody-Dickens for the sake of your mental health, I urge you to pick up a copy of Lynn Shepherd’s wonderful new book, Tom-All-Alone’s – because if you are indeed suffering from this particular literary malaise, Tom-All-Alone’s provides the perfect antidote by breathing new life into one of Dickens' most famous novels.
And Lynn Shepherd certainly doesn’t shy away from the task in hand. She is unflinching in her re-creation of the seedy, squalid and the downright disgusting underbelly of mid-19th century London. Nothing is off limits in this book, whether it be child prostitution, gruesome Ripper-style murders, or nauseating descriptions of the goings-on in the infamous Bermondsey tanneries. However, all this only serves to bring the slums of Victorian London authentically and vividly to life, and the reader is left under no illusions as to what life was really like for many Londoners forced to eek out an existence in such wretched conditions.
Tom-All-Alone's by Lynn Shepherd is published in the UK by Corsair. It will be released in the US under the title The Solitary House on May 1st. For more information, including a great video introduction by the author, go to http://www.lynn-shepherd.com/
Early last year, the literary world (this blog included) was abuzz with the news that the Conan Doyle Estate had, at last, commissioned a new, full-length Sherlock Holmes murder mystery.
The decision, which was a significant departure for the executors of great author’s estate, came as a surprise to many. Up to now, the Estate trustees had jealously guarded Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legacy, steadfastly refusing to sanction any of the unofficial Holmesian tales that had been penned since his death (of which there have been many).
|Sir Arthur Conan Doyle|
And so, now that the book, intriguing titled The House of Silk, has finally been published, did the gamble pay off?
In short – yes. Exceedingly so.
The story, like all of Conan Doyle’s offerings, is narrated by Dr Watson, Holmes’s long-time friend and collaborator. By now, the famous detective has been dead for over a year, and the good doctor is putting pen to paper one last time in an attempt to chronicle the most sensational and disturbing case that Holmes had ever been called upon to investigate.
As a back-story, it’s a rather good one, conveniently giving Horowitz licence to take the classic Sherlock Holmes mystery to altogether different level by allowing him to update the story for a modern audience.
And, thankfully, this unique opportunity is not wasted. In The House of Silk, Horowitz has successfully captured not only the voice of Conan Doyle, but also the very essence of Sherlock Holmes. Characterisations are pitch-perfect, while descriptions of Victorian London (and its seedy underbelly) are as believable as they are disturbing.
In fact, in every aspect, the transition from Conan Doyle to Horowitz is simply seamless.
Horowitz has indeed proved himself a worthy successor. The doubters have been silenced.
'The House of Silk' by Anthony Horowitz is published by Orion Books.
Related Stories: http://www.lovelifefoodart.blogspot.com/2011/01/second-coming-of-sherlock-holmes.html
It has certainly been a good summer for Canadian author, Esi Edugyan. At the beginning of July, her latest novel, Half Blood Blues, was dramatised and serialised for BBC Radio 4’s popular late-night programme, Book At Bedtime. This was followed, two weeks later, by the announcement that the book had been longlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize. With so much positive buzz abounding, this novel surely wouldn’t disappoint … or would it?
Set in Berlin and Paris in the late 1930s and early 1940s, while occasionally fast-forwarding to the present day, Half Blood Blues tells the story of a group of jazz musicians who, on the brink of stardom, fall foul of the Nazi Party’s laws banning so-called ‘degenerate’ music.
The group, known as Hot Time Blues, is made up of a motley crew of musicians – the novel’s African American narrator, Sid Griffiths and his best friend, Chip Jones, are from Baltimore, while the other band members hail from Germany. The star of the show is undoubtedly 19-year-old Hieronymous Falk, an awesomely talented trumpeter, who has recently come to the attention of jazz legend, Louis Armstrong.
Given what we all know about Hitler’s Aryan ideals, it comes as surprise to realise that, despite the vast swathes of material written about this bleak period of history, we know relatively little about the fate of black or mixed race people in the Nazi Fatherland. This novel had the potential to plug this gap in our knowledge … but, unfortunately, it falls short.
'Half Blood Blues' by Esi Edugyan is published by Serpent's Tail
When Rory MacLean’s mother, Joan, is diagnosed with a terminal cancer, he and his wife, Katrin, unhesitatingly take the ailing woman into their home in an effort to make her last remaining weeks as comfortable as possible. Each keeps a diary of their experiences, the results of which are collated into this incredibly moving book.
Told with humour, grace and searing honesty, Rory, Katrin and Joan lay bare their innermost emotions as they come to terms with this dreaded disease – to the extent that the reader sometimes feels like a voyeuristic intruder, blithely eavesdropping on their most private of thoughts.
However, the benefit of this intensely personal, warts-and-all account is that it throws into harsh relief the devastating effects of cancer on the sufferer, while also giving unique insight into often-overlooked plight of those left behind to pick up the pieces – the family, the friends and the carers. Cancer, it seems, is all-consuming - and in more ways than one.
It cannot be denied that parts of this book are uncomfortable to read – it is, after all, a chronicle of death. It forces the reader to confront the one basic truth that we spend so much time trying to ignore – the fact death is an inevitable and inescapable part of the human condition. However, despite this, the book is strangely life-affirming – in acknowledging death, it also succeeds in celebrating life … and the indomitability of the human spirit.
A truly remarkable book – Gift of Time should be essential reading for mortals everywhere.
"Gift of Time: A Family's Diary of Cancer" by Rory MacLean with Joan and Katrin MacLean is out on August 18th.
It is published by Constable, an imprint of Constable & Robinson.
Much like the character of Dr Sam Beckett in the cult 80s TV show Quantum Leap, Jennifer Egan’s latest offering, the Pulitzer Prize winning A Visit from the Goon Squad, is a novel that likes to jump around … a lot.
Spanning four decades, crossing numerous cities and continents, and resolutely shunning chronological conventions, the book is a montage of random episodes that serve to illustrate the lives of its many characters. Seemingly inspired by the ‘six degrees of separation’ theory, the actors in this drama are drawn from a complex web of connections which all lead back to two main players, the music impresario Bennie Salazar and his beautiful-but-complicated assistant Sasha.
Reading more like a collection of short stories than a novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a unique concept which has been cleverly executed. Occasionally, the reader feels that the various strands of the story are in danger of becoming irretrievably tangled, but the author always seems to pull back from the brink – thanks mainly to Bennie and Sasha, who ‘anchor’ the narrative and prevent it from spiralling out of control.
A Visit from the Goon Squad is published in the UK by Corsair, an imprint of Constable and Robinson Ltd
Click on the link for reviews of the following upcoming titles.
The Year After by Martin Davies. Published by Hodder.
Vaclav & Lena by Haley Tanner. Published by William Heinemann
What I Did by Christopher Wakling. Published by John Murray
With thanks to The Bookseller and We Love This Book
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2010, In A Strange Room is the second offering by South African author Damon Galgut to be considered for this prestigious literary award. (The first was The Good Doctor, which was shortlisted for the prize in 2003.) After reading just the first couple of pages of In A Strange Room, it becomes obvious to the reader why Galgut is a perennial favourite of the Man Booker judges, despite losing out to DBC Pierre and Howard Jacobson in 2003 and 2010 respectively.
In A Strange Room is a highly accomplished, if completely unconventional, piece of work. Masquerading as a set of three stories which document the travels of ‘Damon’ (the protagonist) around Lesotho, Central Africa and India, it soon becomes clear that this triptych of prose is more than just a collection of run-of-the-mill travel writings. Exploring themes of love, loss, loneliness, suicide and death, the book takes the reader on a journey which transcends the geographical. As we follow Damon’s aimless meandering around vast swathes of Africa and India, and witness his inability to form lasting human connections, we come to the uncomfortable realisation that his relentless travelling is really just a desperate, but ultimately futile, attempt to escape from himself. Galgut forces the reader to examine Damon’s motivations, and by default, our own ... which can sometimes make for uncomfortable reading.
In A Strange Room is a profoundly moving and insightful commentary on the inherent loneliness of the human condition and the fragility of all human relationships. Haunting, evocative and completely mesmerizing, it is a must-read for anyone interested in the complex nature of our interactions with ourselves and the world we live in.
4 / 5
In A Strange Room is published by Atlanntic Books, an imprint of Grove Atlantic Ltd.
So, was this debut offering by Irish comedian, Ardal O’Hanlon, worth the wait (and the endless trudging around innumerable Waterstones stores)? The short answer is yes, but with one important qualification … if you are expecting this book to be reminiscent of O’Hanlon’s most famous character, the thick-as-two-bricks Fr Dougal McGuire of Father Ted fame, you will be sorely disappointed.
The novel, however, is not without its faults. The plot is rather thin in places and, if it wasn’t for Francesca’s occasional diary entries to alleviate the intensity, the narrative would be a difficult and unrelentingly miserable read. The book is also jam-packed with colloquialisms - which is fine if you are in fact Irish like me, but could be quite baffling for the non-native reader!
In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted from the outset that sporting memoirs, of any description, are not generally given much airtime on this blog. In fact, it is fair to say that they are usually given a very wide berth. But every so often a book comes along that forces one to re-examine our preconceptions. How I Won the Yellow Jumper: Dispatches from the Tour de France by ITV’s intrepid sports journalist Ned Boulting is one such book.
Part memoir, part travelogue, How I Won the Yellow Jumper is a hilarious account of Ned’s eight years covering that most famous and illustrious of road cycle races, the Tour de France. From inauspicious beginnings, (on his maiden Tour, he referred to the coveted yellow jersey as a ‘jumper’ live on TV - a howler of such magnitude, it is surprising ITV didn’t cancel his contract on the spot) to his emergence as one of the sport’s most respected journalists, Ned recounts his experiences with remarkable honesty.
How I Won the Yellow Jumper: Dispatches from the Tour de France by Ned Boulting is published on June 2nd by Yellow Jersey Press (an imprint of Random House).
Pigeon English is the debut offering from up-and-coming author Stephen Kelman. Set over a period of five months, the story is narrated by an eleven-year-old boy, Harrison Opoku, who has recently arrived in London from Ghana. Ostensibly about Harrison’s struggle to adapt to his new environment, the novel provides a damning insight into the many social problems, and the very real dangers, faced by kids living in inner-city housing estates today.
Fascinated by the recent stabbing of a boy from one of the local towerblocks, Harrison, inspired by TV shows like CSI, innocently sets about investigating the murder. In doing so, he unwittingly jeopardizes the safety of both himself and his family. Throughout the book, Harrison’s worldview is unfailingly optimistic and somewhat romanticized, and as such, he remains blissfully oblivious to the dangers that lurk all around. The reader, on the other hand, is painfully aware of the pitfalls he faces, and feels immense frustration that we cannot warn him of them.
Another of the novel’s successes is its convincing characterizations. Through Harri, the reader is introduced to an intriguing cast of characters, from the relatively harmless petty thief, Terry Takeaway and his pit-bull Asbo, to the ominous gang-members X-Fire (pronounced Crossfire) and Killa. This realistic portrayal of a cross-section of inner-city life adds a great degree of authenticity to the story. The one character that didn’t quite work was the pigeon – befriended by Harrison and cast in the role of his guardian angel, the paragraphs narrated by Pigeon seemed oddly out of place. The reader was left confused as to the pigeon’s relevance to the story until the very end.
Initially, the dialogue was baffling - a combination of Ghanaian English mixed with the grating and sometimes nonsensical slang favoured by London’s tough inner-city teenagers was more than a little bewildering. (Asweh, he was just a confusionist, innit!) Fortunately, any perplexity soon dissipated once the reader got to grips with the vernacular.
4 / 5
Pigeon English is published by Bloomsbury.
With thanks to The Omnivore (http://www.theomnivore.co.uk)
“All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing”.
The sentiment expressed in this oft-used phrase forms the basis for Hans Fallada’s extraordinarily moving novel, Alone in Berlin. Published in Germany in 1947 under the title, Every Man Dies Alone (Jeder stirbt für sich allein), it is based on true events.
The novel tells the story of an unassuming, working-class couple, Otto and Anna Quangel who, distraught by the death of the son in the Second World War, begin a campaign of resistance against Hitler and the Nazi party. Their acts of rebellion are small, some would even say insignificant – they write one postcard a week, inciting civil disobedience by denouncing Hitler, the Nazis and the war that killed their son. The postcards, dropped randomly all over Berlin, were intended to be a rallying call, imploring recipients not to blindly succumb to the tyranny of the Nazis. Despite the small-scale nature of Otto and Anna’s revolt, a Gestapo inspector becomes obsessed with tracking them down. He eventually succeeds, and the Quangels pay the ultimate price for their deeds – they are imprisoned, tortured, subjected to a show-trial and eventually executed.
It quickly becomes apparent to the reader, however, that the actual subject of the novel is not Otto and Anna Quangel – the real focus of the book is in fact the Nazi regime, and more precisely, its brutality and effectiveness at suppressing all opposition, however small. The author paints a vivid picture of what life was like for everyday Germans living under Nazi control … and therein lies the novel’s greatest achievement. Fallada masterfully evokes an ominous atmosphere of pervasive anxiety, apprehension and distrust, where ordinary citizens live in abject fear of the Gestapo, and as such are prepared to turn a blind eye to their atrocities. One tends to forget that, quite aside from his crimes against Jews and other elements of society he deemed undesirable, Hitler’s despotism and cruelty was directed at all German citizens – the Führer proved himself to be equally adept at killing his own people as he was at killing Jews.
Alone in Berlin is a story of man’s inhumanity to man. There is no uplifting or redemptive ending, just as there was no uplifting or redemptive ending to the Second World War. The novel is bleak and utterly depressing, and for this very reason it is an absolute must-read … because if we are to learn lessons from history, we must never forget it.
|Otto and Elise Hampel, the couple who inspired Alone in Berlin|
As regular followers will attest, I am quite fond of writing the odd book review. In fact, truth be told, this blog has seen more than its fair share of them … but no more, dear readers! This reviewer has finally seen the error of her ways. The following will be the last book review I will ever write… and even as I put pen to paper* to compose this final dispatch, I do so with a heart heavy with shame and regret.
Up until now, it was my firm belief that the job of a book reviewer was to advance the literary cause. Drawing the public’s attention to good writing, while denouncing the bad was, I believed, a worthy occupation. However, nothing could be further from the truth – at least according to Pete Tarslaw, the protagonist in Steve Hely’s fictional debut How I Became a Famous Novelist.
The book, ostensibly an account of one man’s crusade to become a bestselling author, is in reality a vehicle through which Hely mercilessly lampoons many aspects of the publishing industry, including (you’ve guessed it) book reviewers. Our protagonist’s opinion of reviewers is unequivocal, to say the least. According to him, they are:
“… the most despicable, loathsome order of swine … snivelling, revolting creatures who feed their own appetites for bile by gnawing apart other people’s work… they are human garbage [who] all deserve to be struck down by awful diseases described in the most obscure dermatology journals ..”Hmmm … there’s nothing quite like being called the scum of humanity (I’m paraphrasing) to make one re-assess one’s career path. But I digress …
Prejudice against book reviewers aside, this novel is simply brilliant. The premise is rather ingenious - a down-trodden, unlucky-in-love, would-be
How I Became a Famous Novelist is laugh-out-loud, side-splittingly funny and gloriously ironic. It shines an unforgiving light on the workings of the publishing industry and exposes the pretentiousness which surrounds literary writing, and of course literary review. If you are a fan of no-holds-barred satire, you’ll love this!
And now, I’m off in search of alternative, worthier employment. Maybe I’ll try my luck as a traffic warden? Or a telemarketer? Estate agent? A tax inspector, perhaps? Anything, it seems, would be better than a devilish book reviewer.
How I Became a Successful Novelist is published by Corsair and is available in paperback from March 24th.
(* figuratively speaking, of course; ‘fingers to keyboard’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?)
Revolving around a close-knit group of friends and lovers (Willie, Dominique, Jean-Michel and Liz), the novel explores the theory that all human relationships are fluid and impermanent. It is unsettling for the reader to consider the possibility that, despite being part of a complex social structure, eventually all human bonds break down. Whether this happens as a result of disloyalty, envy, hate or death is irrelevant – the point is: it happens.
The novel spans the period from the early seventies to the late noughties, with much of the action set against the backdrop of the explosive homosexual revolution of the early eighties. Willie and Dominique are in an apparently loving gay relationship, while Liz and Jean-Michel (Leibo) embark on a decades-long affair. Willie is introduced to Paris’s gay scene by the older and more experienced Dominique, and together they explore and enjoy the burgeoning sexual liberation afforded to homosexuals during that period.
But, nothing lasts forever. Everything changes. A newcomer arrives on the scene intent on spoiling the party; the arrival of AIDS causes the euphoria of the period to give way to fear and suspicion.
This novel is not for the faint-hearted. It is complex, multi-layered and challenging, dealing with a wide range of philosophical and political themes. A story of life, love and loss, the novel forces the reader to confront issues that we generally prefer to ignore. The author’s remarkable philosophical insight and brilliant command of narrative makes this a highly readable, if somewhat harrowing, piece of work.
Hate, A Romance is published by Faber and Faber.
Evelyn Waugh's Scoop
By the time Evelyn Waugh published Scoop in 1938, he had already gained quite a reputation as a biting social satirist. His previous novels, Vile Bodies and Decline and Fall, had mercilessly lampooned various aspects of British society in the 1920s. With Scoop, Waugh had another target in his sights – the journalism industry, or more precisely, the tabloid newspapers which habitually engaged in sensationalist reporting.
The novel revolves around William Boot, a bumbling, unassuming nature writer who, through a case of mistaken identity, finds himself plucked from the obscurity of his country home and shipped off to the fictional African country of Ishmaelia by the editor of The Daily Beast. As the Beast’s man in Ishmaelia, Boot is charged with the task of reporting on the impending civil war, which is expected to erupt at any moment. A raucous comedy of errors ensues, which ultimately sees Boot, despite his breathtaking incompetence, eventually land the scoop of the decade.
Loosely based on Waugh’s own experiences as a special correspondent reporting on Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia, the novel deftly paints a vivid portrait of Fleet Street as an ineffectual, bloated, egotistical monster, more concerned with newspaper sales than reporting the truth. (Sound familiar?) It becomes apparent that journalism, with its pervasive expenses-claiming culture, was the poster-boy of excess long before today’s bankers and politicians took over this dubious mantle.
A quick glance at today’s tabloid headlines is enough to convince the reader that not much has changed in the intervening years since Waugh wrote his illuminating, if cynical, parody of tabloid reporting. As such, it is essential reading for anybody interested in a career in journalism. In fact, why not avoid extortionate university fees altogether; invest in Scoop instead– it’s the only textbook an aspiring journalist will need!