Alexander Waugh

A History of Helios

Chasing the Sun: The Epic Story of the Star that Gives Us Life


Simon & Schuster 681pp £30 order from our bookshop

When Richard Cohen was working as a publisher – he was once publishing director of both Hutchinson and Hodder & Stoughton – he asked every non-fiction author crossing his path to consider writing a book about the sun. They all said no. A slim science book about how and when the sun was formed and how it radiates heat might have interested someone; a short history of sun worship could have been fun; a brief survey showing how the sun has been represented in literature and art might also have found a curious readership; but Cohen wanted more, and the daunting prospect of sitting down to write a 600-page all-encompassing cosmological, cultural, aesthetic, scientific, philosophical and literary biography of the sun was bound to make even the sturdiest trencherman of an author quail. As with the Remington shavers man who liked the product so much he bought the factory, Cohen became so determined that this book should be written that he wrote it himself.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,