A new novel by Jennifer Johnston is, of course, an event. A prolific author, Johnston hit the literary headlines in the early 1970s with The Captain and the Kings. In 1979 she won the Whitbread Prize for The Old Jest, in which an innocent eighteen-year-old, living in idyllic surroundings by the sea, comes face to face with the dark and murderous events of the Troubles.
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This 'jaunty narrative raises fundamental questions about the role of popular history. Should this just be a matter of telling tales, as the general public often seems to think?'
@DrLRoach weighs up Charles Spencer's account of the White Ship Disaster.
'Amis clearly belongs to the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do school of pedagogy. More or less everything he says is demonstrably contradicted by elements of his own work, be they here or elsewhere.'
'The bar is set high at the outset, and readers are primed to wonder if Mikhail can make his case.'
Does Alan Mikhail's new life of the Sultan Selim I really overturn 'shibboleths that have held sway for a millennium'? Caroline Finkel investigates.