Margaret Atwood is a Canadian writer, and the archetypal Canadian concerns are there for all to fmd in her latest novel, from the pOlitics of the extreme centre to the paranoid schizophrenia that Ms Atwood herself (in her lively study of Canadian literature, Survival) diagnoses as the national illness of her fellow ‘exiles and invaders’, with their tensions and choices to pull them in opposite directions.
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'Only in Britain, perhaps, could spy chiefs – conventionally viewed as masters of subterfuge – be so highly regarded as ethical guides.'
In this month's Bookends, @AdamCSDouglas looks at the curious life of Henry Labouchere: a friend of Bram Stoker, 'loose cannon', and architect of the law that outlawed homosexual activity in Britain.
'We have all twenty-nine of her Barsetshire novels, and whenever a certain longing reaches critical mass we read all twenty-nine again, straight through.'
Patricia T O'Conner on her love for Angela Thirkell. (£)