A glimpse of Roald Dahl’s adolescent correspondence and childhood is all it takes to recognise a born writer. In their elegant script and with their impressive respect for the niceties of spelling and grammar, his letters home, signed ‘Boy’, display a descriptive flair, a delight in vocabulary and a relish for the unusual. Nor is there any question about his acuity: according to family legend, the first utterance by the infant Roald was, in Norwegian, ‘Daddy, why aren’t you wearing your slippers?’
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'Thirkell was a product of her time and her class. For her there are no sacred cows, barring those that win ribbons at the Barchester Agricultural.'
The novelist Angela Thirkell is due a revival, says Patricia T O'Conner (£).
'Only in Britain, perhaps, could spy chiefs – conventionally viewed as masters of subterfuge – be so highly regarded as ethical guides.'
In this month's Bookends, @AdamCSDouglas looks at the curious life of Henry Labouchere: a friend of Bram Stoker, 'loose cannon', and architect of the law that outlawed homosexual activity in Britain.