John Dugdale

How Two Great Americans See One Garbage Dump

Underworld

By

Picador 827pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

Suddenly and unprecedently, there are writers in the US displaying peak form in their fifties, sixties and even seventies. This really isn’t supposed to happen: the American novelist’s destiny is to burn himself out young like a sports star or drown his talent in booze. Books about oldies are consequently rare – even the émigré Henry James, who remained productive up to sixty, preferred virginal innocents.

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