Abacus £9.99 (354pp) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
In Search of England, By Roy Hattersley
Friday 15 October 2010
At first glance, this book might appear to be an exception to this reviewer's opinion that yellowing columns of journalism should never be published in book form. Hattersley has had enough experience of writing – 20 volumes of Hattersleiana are listed (including two diaries allegedly penned by his dog) – and his opinions are sound but his observations are obscured by great clouds of words.
The objects of his attention disappear beneath endless, meandering sentences. This is strangely lifeless prose, bereft of telling detail, verbal fireworks or illuminating wit.
Only a handful of the pieces reprinted here contain the quoted speech of anyone he meets. Whether we are in Westminster, Blackpool, the Peak District or Sheffield, all we seem to meet is Hattersley.
Arts & Ents blogs
Under The Skin, film review: Scarlett Johansson is full-blooded as femme fatale alien
Doctor Who: Keeley Hawes to star alongside Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman
Best films on Netflix: 32 movies that will put an end to your scrolling
Boy George: Bad karma
Disney's Frozen is 'very evil' gay propaganda, says Christian pastor
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Tony Benn meets Ali G: Watch Labour veteran burn Sacha Baron Cohen
- 3 Women do experience two different types of orgasm, study reveals
- 4 Istanbul protesters take 'Ellen selfie' from the back of a police van
- 5 Lady Gaga has struggled with eating disorders in the past, so it's indefensible that she's glamourising bulimia in her SXSW set