Cultural Life: Georgina Harding, Novelist


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The Independent Culture



The Hooligan's Return, an autobiography by the Romanian novelist Norman Manea. Manea left his country and his language (hard thing, for a novelist) and went into exile in the West in 1986. This book records his return home 10 years later. It's difficult at points, painful, moving. In contrast, I found myself re-reading Graham Greene's The Quiet American. It's still brilliant, deep on people, western/eastern relationships and morality, besides being so prescient on 50 years of American foreign policy.


L'Exercice de l'Etat. This had a single showing at the BFI and deserves wider UK distribution. It's a film about the realities of politics: how a French minister of transport is driven off-course, even into a car crash. Clever, funny, shocking, occasionally surreal, and very French. It opens with a naked woman diving into the mouth of a crocodile – but this is the anxious politician's dream, not actuality.


A Walk-on Part: The Fall of New Labour. A dramatisation of Chris Mullin's diaries. This was the reality of politics again, but English-style – no erotic crocodiles here.


Borgen. We've been watching the boxed set compulsively. A Danish woman prime minister begins with the best of intentions, plus a wonderful home and sex life. When all the deals are done, where will she end?

Georgina Harding's novel 'Painter of Silence' is shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. (