Words: combover, n.

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
TOO LITTLE reviewed last year, but logged in this column ("permie"), Stickleback was a fine first novel by the geneticist John McCabe and was a word-of-mouth success. Now comes Paper. Its lab- bound hero's perverse logicality is de-ployed with all the energy of Ignatius J. Reilly in A Confederancy of Dunces.

He observes a combover, "where several strands of lighter and more flyaway hair sought to give the false impression of the arrival of reinforcements". The word is in circulation, as used by that biting political columnist Maureen Dowd earlier this year: possible Clinton impeachment made her fear that "a parade of combovers" would give their opinion on wall-to- wall telly. When did politicians begin this rigging of hair, Burgess-fashion?