Fourth Estate, £12.99
Book review: The Pike, By Lucy Hughes-Hallett
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Friday 04 October 2013
This stylish, pacey life of a world-class scumbag shows that devils often do have the best tunes.
In 1919, Gabriele D'Annunzio - gifted Italian poet, novelist, dramatist, proto-Fascist and monster ego - capped 56 years of self-love. He and thugs in nice uniforms occupied Fiume (now Rijeka).
For a war-crazy poseur who turned politics to lurid art, the coup was his finest hour, but a dark one for Europe.
Hughes-Hallett traces the misdeeds of "one of the cleverest of men" but "one of the least empathetic" with a zest that never sinks her moral compass.
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