Alan Coren

Pure Heaven

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Heinemann 470pp £13.99 order from our bookshop

Were you to take a peek into A C Benson’s Commonplace Book, you would, after a bit, come across the following exhortation from Dr F J Foakes Jackson: ‘It’s no use trying to be clever – we are all clever here. Just try to be kind – a little kind.’

It was addressed, at the turn of the century, to a novitiate don at Jesus College, Cambridge, and while Dr F J Foakes Jackson is not remembered for anything else (and indeed is somewhat rarely remembered for this), there can be no question but that his salutary murmur must continue to resonate, however faintly, within that university, much in the manner of an ancient ITMA beetling forever through intergalactic space.

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