Bury Place Papers, By Frank Kermode
Sunday 17 January 2010
This collection of "Essays from the London Review of Books, 1979-2007" not only demonstrates Frank Kermode's dexterity and range; it also shows a sense of humour I hadn't picked up on before. In his 1986 review of three weighty Hemingway biographies, for instance, two of which focused on Hemingway's early years and his first marriage to Hadley Richardson, he comments, with some feeling, on the amount of detail included: "Although it may seem a little ungracious to say so, for she was an interesting woman, you may feel some regret that a thousand letters from Hadley to Ernest have survived." Kermode is nothing if not diligent: if he had to read every word of those letters, one senses that he would do so.
On Martin Amis's The War Against Cliché he is alternately serious and amused; on The Body Artist by Don DeLillo, he is caustic ("if there are two traditions of great American writing it is proper to show up in both of them") and admiring; on Philippe Ariès' The Hour of Our Death, he is cautious and querying ("I mention this fact because I do not know quite what to do with it"). His reviews are always demanding but never inaccessible, the perfect combination.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
Suicide Squad's Margot Robbie: Jared Leto's now more petrifying when out of his Joker make-up
Novel Scarlett Johansson tried to ban, Grégoire Delacourt’s The First Thing You See, to be published in UK
The Girl in the Spider's Web, David Lagercrantz, review: Stieg Larsson's heroes return in a thrilling new intrigue
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs