In Graham Swift’s Waterland, a young historian absorbed by the history and mystery of the Fens finds himself faced with the question of how history differs from story-telling and legend. Swift’s precision as a writer enables him to treat each strand of the question separately and yet do justice to the whole.
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'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.
'We have all twenty-nine of her Barsetshire novels, and whenever a certain longing reaches critical mass we read all twenty-nine again, straight through.'
Patricia T O'Conner on her love for Angela Thirkell. (£)