The Dazzle, by Robert Hudson
Sunday 03 February 2013
Big-game fishing has been the subject of novels before, not least those by Herman Melville and Ernest Hemingway, but this is surely the first to be located in 1930s Scarborough, where the sport of tuna-fishing was pioneered and became a fashionable craze.
Robert Hudson has mixed real characters with fictional ones to produce a fast-paced, enjoyable romp that is hard to categorise: his tale, based on a contest between the American writer of Westerns Zane Grey and the equally real English gent Lorenzo Mitchell-Henry, is too witty for farce, not biting enough for satire and humorous rather than laugh-out-loud funny.
The convoluted plot, involving suave aristocrats, mysterious Chinese drug lords, secret agents and relentless bed-hopping of an often distinctly kinky nature, is far too implausible to be taken seriously as anything but a homage to the lurid thrillers of the interwar era. Yet it allows Hudson to have fun with the excesses of the Fast Set, and to play with different voices in letters written by protagonists such as Martha Gellhorn, Hemingway's third wife and later an acclaimed war correspondent.
The book ends with "A Note on the Type": "Goudy Old Style, and not because the font has a jazzy italic 'z' and diamond-shaped full-stops… Or even because of the sharply-canted hyphen…" There is more of this, from which one might conclude that Hudson is a bit up himself. But perhaps it's all part of the undeniable amusement.
Published in hardback by Jonathan Cape, £16.99
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets
Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 Iain Duncan Smith's expenses credit card is suspended after he runs up £1,000 debt to taxpayer
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 French woman dies in freak bungee jumping accident
- 5 Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck to divorce and end their 10-year marriage
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Tunisia beach attack: How can British Muslims respond to the latest outrages?