On page 134 of Kate Elizabeth Russell’s debut novel, the protagonist, having just finished phone sex with the 42-year-old she believes she loves, wonders about his ejaculation: ‘I try to imagine how it works when he does that, if he comes into his hand, or a towel … How gross it is for men, having the giveaway of a mess at the end. The thought You’re fucking disgusting surges through me.’ To readers of My Dark Vanessa this thought will not be a surprise: they will have had it themselves 129 pages earlier. There, on page five, this same man says to this same girl, ‘It’s just my luck that when I finally find my soul mate, she’s fifteen years old.’ From that moment readers know what they’re dealing with. It will take seventeen years for the protagonist to begin to do the same.
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
'After all, who knows what anybody is really like, or what they really think? The biographer – same as a painter of portraits – cannot help but reproduce himself to some degree.'
From the archive: Beryl Bainbridge talks to Sebastian Shakespeare.
"fascinating piece of writing ...unexpectedly gripping read...The #RedCircleMinis are a really wonderful initiative; every one I’ve read has been so different and so good... #OneLoveChigusa is an excellent addition to the series! “Thank you @kaggsy59 🙂 https://bit.ly/2ZIdeqL
@johnkampfner's book traces the '"consensual culture" of contemporary Germany, its love of slogging processes and of "getting it right", characteristics epitomised by Angela Merkel.'
Do the Germans really 'do it better'? Thomas Kielinger explores.