Blog / 2022

Christopher Fowler
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Books
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It wasn't until the vivacious Philippa Pullar (b.1935) married a chicken farmer that she came to realise her perceived notions of rural life were overly romantic. In the seventies a number of authors began to take up their pens against the cruelties of factory farming. Pullar’s belief in the sanctity of animal life informed her first and greatest book, the uncatagorisable ‘Consuming Passions: A…
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Christopher Fowler
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Books
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Lately TV drama has been playing tricks on us. The peak so far probably came with 'Landscapers', a true crime story disturbingly redesigned around the protagonists' fantasy lives. It's something novelists did with some frequency until publishers decided to play it safe and revert to Victorian narrative - solid, straightforward, nothing too tricksy or clever. Which is how crime has ended up in its…
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Christopher Fowler
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Books
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Publishing is a bipolar industry. Its subjects are cute or bleak, its publicity blitzes star-driven and hyped-to-death or lost and invisible. I try not to judge books by their covers but you can often discern entire plots from the jacket. I know there are sections of the market not aimed at me, like the book about singing crawdads, whatever they are, which looks like 'The Bridges of Madison County…
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Don Winslow
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Christopher Fowler
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Books
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Only two books this week but I've been bit rough, and the first one was (for me) fairly demanding. 'Venomous Lumpsucker' is unique in a way that only Ned Beauman's novels can be, a richly detailed systems novel that at times outpaces the reader. For me, his previous high-water marks were 'The Teleportation Accident' and 'Madness Is Better Than Defeat', but this doubles down on the multiple pile…
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Christopher Fowler
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Books
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The author and literary historian John Sutherland asks the question, and answers it himself with 'How To Be Well Read', a guide to 500 novels he considers to be great. What defines greatness? A book that is a world first? A game changer? A source of controversy? A novel of immense popularity? Of critical acclaim? There are many definitions at work, and Mr Sutherland is careful to include examples…
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Christopher Fowler
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Books
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In fiction you can take your reader on the most fantastical journeys providing you give them something to believe in at the outset. When this doesn't happen you end up with MCU movies, which are based on old comics from the 1960s/1970s and have very little to do with reality. When 'Spiderman' began, the main character, Peter Parker, was a believable young student and budding photographer. What on…
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Christopher Fowler
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Books & Bryant & May
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Fret not, for 'The Foot on the Crown' (official title) will be published, although now you have me thinking about splitting it into two volumes. I never write long, which makes me suspicious that I had too much fun with this - probably more than the average reader can stand. (Not, dear fellows, that I would consider any of you average.) What held me up for so long was that I revealed the novel's…
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Christopher Fowler
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Books
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I've just put a title to Chapter 81. 'Nuns At War'. This is my seventh draft of The Epic. It didn't start out as that. I must be insane. What happened was. Back in oh, probably the nineties, I wrote a short story called 'Tales of Britannica Castle'. It became a favourite of the more - let's say 'loyal' - of my readers. They pressed me to write another, so I wrote a sequel. The pair of stories…
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Christopher Fowler
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Books
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The pandemic encouraged people around the world to read more books than ever before. There have been some changes. Amazon is pushing audiobooks, where their profits are higher. Hardbacks have picked up sales and e-books have fallen since no longer being promoted by Amazon. But all the academic data I've read shows that the gender gap has grown considerably, with far fewer males of working age…
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Christopher Fowler
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Books
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May feels like a quiet time for books, although my reading continues at the same throughout the year. According to a GQ survey, men only account for a fifth of literary fiction readers. In 2000 men wrote 61% of the top-selling hardbacks. Now it's lower than 43%. Changing demographics, cultural diversity and female readers' preferences for emotional stories over tales of POW camp escapes have…
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