Few pieces of writing merit the word Kafkaesque, but the opening of Tom Lee’s first novel, The Alarming Palsy of James Orr, might be one of them: ‘When James Orr woke up, a little later than usual, he had the sense that there was something not quite right, some indefinable shift in the normal order of things.’ The protagonist experiences a sudden onset of Bell’s palsy, a form of facial paralysis. The condition is uncommon and its duration indefinite, but his doctor is nonetheless light-hearted. ‘In the long run,’ James is told, ‘only a small percentage do not return to more or less normal.’
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'Typical of Dickens to leave us with an unsolvable game of Cluedo. Was it John Jasper with the necktie in the cathedral, Stony Durdles with the fibula in the graveyard or Mrs Crisparkle with the arsenic in the close?'
Frances Wilson does some sleuthing.
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They 'disliked Georgian architecture because it was identified with the enclosure movement ... their preferred style was Elizabethan: half-timbered and gabled'.
Jane Ridley on the houses Edwardian Liberals built.