As a young American infantry officer in London awaiting his D-Day orders, Gardner Botsford met ‘an English couple – a civilian accountant, middle-aged and very pleasant, and his middle-aged very pleasant wife – who invited [him] to drop in at their flat in Chelsea that evening after dinner.’ To Botsford’s surprise, the ‘little party’ featured not well-cooked rationed food, but a striking woman. She wore nothing but tiger-skin patches on her stomach and back. And she was striking the many guests with a six-foot leather whip:
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'Robert Silvers, editor of the New York Review of Books, once asked Isaiah Berlin who his ideal dinner guest would be. Without hesitation Berlin exclaimed, ‘William James!’'
'She digs her images into her story, so that they blow up like psychic land mines when the reader’s perception brushes against them.'
Hilary Mantel reviewing Margaret Atwood: a #BookerPrize double-header from the archive.
In Ali Smith's "Summer", 'the coronavirus pandemic has arrived. Lockdown happens too. There are allusions to Black Lives Matter, to online abuse and radicalisation, to things so recently news that it feels shocking to find them in a novel.'