The narrator of Bohumil Hrabal’s latest novel has a one-track mind. He is a pint-sized waiter working in pre-war Prague – a latterday Tom Jones at once hedonistic, ambitious and morally bankrupt. I Served the Kind of England is an account of his bawdy adventures. It is course-grained, in questionable taste, and thoroughly entertaining.
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'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 (£).
'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.