Bill Greenwell


A Good Man in Africa


Hamish Hamilton 251pp £6.95 order from our bookshop

I, Norman Harris


Bodley Head 224pp £5.50 order from our bookshop

Both of these lads have sharpened their pens. The ubiquitous maestro of the mucky chuckle is visible in each of these first novels, as witness this composite blurb:

Meet a fiercely independent spirit caught in the relentless heat, the boring routine. What he has is problems, sexual and spiritual. He sees events as potential escape routes from his drab background and spiritual prison … erratic and infelicitous attractions of big-bosomed, alarmingly purposeful mistress … mocked, jilted, black-mailed, toppled from his precariously balanced existence … hilariously climactic final scenes … a brilliantly funny, glorious romp … evokes memories of Tom Sh …

Well, obviously. I mean, it’s all there, isn’t it? Two more novels about angst ridden, self-consciously libidinous men at the mercy of runaway plots.

The enthusiastic Bodley Head blurber insists (front flap) that Kartun is a ‘writer of whom more will certainly be heard’. No doubt because (back flap) ‘he is already at work on a sequel’. But let me dispose of Norman Harris, which is a not-entirely novel about a rag-trade accountant. Not unlike Walden Yapp of Sharpe’s Ancestral Vices, he fights ennui by programming a computer to stimulate his fantasies. All this is intended to satirise the business world, but its caricatures of jargon-gibbering executives are neither accurate nor absurd enough. It’s a thinly veiled excursion into bedtime funnies – flat Sharpe, and barely laughable.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,