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
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
comedy Erm...he seems to be back
tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
- 3 The Grace Dent Christmas Questionnaire
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
Felicity Jones on being Stephen Hawking's wife in The Theory of Everything: 'I didn't want her to be a saint'
EastEnders Christmas special, review: Brilliant Danny Dyer glues you to your seat
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader