Elspeth Barker

Beetle-Headed Whelp!

The Other Book


Bloomsbury 272pp £6.99 order from our bookshop

It is a daunting task for a reviewer to be asked to review the Assistant Editor’s own first novel. Hercules himself was not so stringently tested. Nevertheless, I accepted the challenge. I am not a coward. But my courage began to fail me when I realised that Philip Womack’s The Other Book (a title that echoes doubtless Henry James’s The Other Face) is not a book intended for grown-up people, but for teen-people. My knowledge of teen literature is limited to the equestrian. Nonetheless, I persevered. Do I not own two teenage grandsons? Might not a use have finally been found for them? They could be my interpreters, my guides. 

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