Hilary Mantel

Conjuring Tricks

Zeno Was Here

By

Jonathan Cape 284pp £9.95 order from our bookshop

McEvoy, the protagonist of Jan Mark’s new novel, is a bundle of delightful prejudices. A bright pupil – McEvoy is a schoolmaster – poses a killer question in the Eng Lit class: ‘Sir, how do we know that this is a poem?’ McEvoy finds this difficult. He thinks of the lines that appear in the Times Literary Supplement: ‘They seem to be poems because clearly they are not advertisements. ‘The class’s lateral thinker comes up with the answer; it must be a poem because ‘Sir, it says Ted Hughes at the bottom.’

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