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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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Has He Reached 'National Treasure' Status? They always say it about Alan Bennett, although his field of interest, outside of his wonderful diaries and his fascination with Kafka, eventually returned to being more parochial. Mr Jonathan Coe is another matter entirely. He eschews intellectual chilliness at the risk of being excluded from the so-called literary pantheon. His style is deceptively…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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This is the latest in an occasional round-up on readers and writers, books and their readability or unreadability, general discussion points for us all. First up; Are you a book snob? Recent reports suggest that one reason for not buying e-books is that others don't know what you're reading. Women find men who carry books less threatening. The young are keen to appear well-read. Bookcases in…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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Literary laughs for the lockdown era I'm always wary of authors who write about the rich; it convinces me they secretly salivate about being part of the fast set, like Richard Curtis and Julian Fellowes. Charles Jennings is genuinely hilarious on the subject of the ghastly rich, but in 'Up North: Travels Beyond the Watford Gap', he turns his jaundiced eye to the North of England and brings down a…
26 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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'Don't get too political,' is a classic writing rule. Readers are also voters of every hue, and you risk offending them. But if you're going to write a crime novel set in modern-day Britain, you have to at least touch on ordinary life around you to set the story in context. If you overdo it, you'll have too much political content and will turn readers off. If you're writing a satire or an overtly…
15 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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I've always thought of myself as European but I'm not, of course. Bryant & May are only a very slight exaggeration of my relatives (although I have some German blood - 'Like the royal family', my mum said). I came from a solid middle-class if slightly desperate family who would have loved to go to the last night of the Proms. Naturally as their eldest son grew up in media and started following the…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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What a decade! How do you encapsulate it? Murmurings and mutterings; the rejection of global economics, the rejection of free movement. As more parts of the world become unstable, the pressure on those areas which are relatively calm increases. They're safe havens for cash and companies, property and tourism. With the reduction of popularity in Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, the Lebanon and…
6 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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Anyone with half a brain will know that we live in extraordinary times, but most writing doesn't reflect the present. Part of the reason is that for fiction writers the gestation period is so long. The distance from the idea to the final version of the book, then to finding the publisher, and then to a year-long wait for a publication slot, is - at a conservative guess - around three years. In…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Observatory
It didn't take long for the UK's balloon-faced premier, formerly centre-right David Cameron to reveal his darker colours. This one requires a back-flip mindset; under new government proposals, universities in England will be permitted to make extra places available for rich British students. So if you've got enough wonga, you can grab a place after all. The idea behind this? The proposal would…
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