Imagine that human beings had been designed by a very talented but rather malicious half wit. Here we are, then, so made, rather nimble, quick fingered, quite bright, mortal and aware of it, with feelings we identify as of sorrow and compassion, whatever they are, built to kill and to manipulate, modify, smash up or down our environment to the end that we survive, not individually, but as a species. It is like living with a set of perversely contradictory instructions. Sometimes that is how it seems, a kind of glory, a jest and a riddle that but slenderly knows itself, etc.
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'The authors do not shrink from spelling out the scale of the killings when the Rhodesians made long-distance raids on guerrilla camps in Mozambique and Zambia.'
Xan Smiley on how Rhodesia became Zimbabwe.
'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 (£).