A double foray into this Booker-winning novelist's favourite territory, where Victorian narrative meets 20th-century meditation about life, the universe and lit crit. The first, more obviously gripping novella is about an insect collector finding parallels - cue mounds of mugged-up entomology - between human society and the ant world. The second, featuring Tennyson's sister and In Memoriam, the poet's great elegy to her dead fiance, makes slow progress in the seedy world of 19th-century spiritualism, but inspires the most moving and compelling writing in the book.
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