Picnic At Hanging Rock

Don’t Tell Them Everything

Good books have an inner life; you can’t see all the way in. The pages become windows that throw light onto landscapes and into rooms, but keep some secrets hidden from view. Perhaps they reveal more at second glance – perhaps they leave the reader to deduce more. The reader certainly doesn’t need to know […]

Should Books Be Shorter?

A story is a journey you undertake to see what happens. The long Victorian novel was a box-set binge; episodes appeared in magazines like The Strand, and had built-in cliffhangers. Crime novels weren’t constructed around hooks; most old Penguin paperbacks didn’t even put a plot synopsis or description of any kind on their jackets. The […]

You Can’t Say ‘Clever’ Anymore. It’s Elitist.

A short while ago I expressed admiration for someone I thought was clever, and a girlfriend of mine told me off for being ‘elitist’. Here’s my thinking on that. The UK’s low-rent Channel 4, which is government subsidised (outrageously, it still pays no tax) is currently running a dating show in which people decide who […]