Oh dear. Just twelve months ago, Danny Leigh wrote a long piece for The Guardian on how he had been determined that his first novel, The Greatest Gift, would not be ‘just so much autobiography by proxy’. Indeed, he ‘bridled at the thought of joining those novelists torn between having a story to tell and wanting to tell their own; the creators of that book mountain glaringly drawn from life, yet unreal in all the most important places – tales of sexual exotica in Crouch End or Brixton Hill, drizzly portraits of “lovesick” blokes with alphabetised CDs and brand new football scarves, florid reminiscences of raving in the desert or backpacking around South-East Asia’. And three cheers for all that. But here we are, a year on, and along comes Leigh’s second novel, The Monsters of Gramercy Park – a book which, while it could never be accused of being confessionally autobiographical, is nevertheless remarkably solipsistic. The Monsters of Gramercy Park is one of those novels about a writer. Worse, it is one of those novels about two writers. Worse still, it is one of those novels about two writers, one of whom is suffering from writer’s block.
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
The minimalist Fumio Sasaki 'confesses that as he began to purchase fewer consumer goods, his meals shrank in size. He decluttered and lost weight. Accumulation is not just an economic way of life but a form of embodiment too. Enlightenment is reduction.'
'The river’s desecration mirrors Colombia’s long history of violence: "for years we treated it like a sewer," says Ahmed, a survivor of a particularly brutal paramilitary massacre, "just like we treated each other".'
Patrick Wilcken on the Magdalena.
It's 'all lively and entertaining but rather too black and white. Her account of British politics and the success of the Brexit campaign verges on the cartoonish.'
@David_Goodhart on Anne Applebaum's 'Twilight on Democracy'.