The Captain: the life and times of Simon Raven by Michael Barber

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The Independent Culture

A Firework of a book: zippy, illuminating and great fun.

A Firework of a book: zippy, illuminating and great fun. Despite Raven's serial caddishness – booted out of Charterhouse for the usual reasons, almost cashiered for racing debts, devoted to the bottle, abysmal as a father – the old scoundrel was spot-on when he described himself as "not a great novelist, but a productive one". Though the Captain – the title exactly captures the late novelist's seedy grandeur – is a tremendous subject, one is not exactly distraught at having missed the chance of meeting him.

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