Imagine a research scientist at the age of twenty-four, James (Jim) D Watson. At that age, most of his peers would be checking out which lab to begin their PhD studies in; Watson, however, had not only finished his PhD but had already shared the greatest discovery in biology of the twentieth century. In Life Story, the superb 1987 TV docudrama, the quest for the structure of DNA climaxes with a triumph, the revelation of the double helix of DNA. Afterwards, Watson is with his sister on a bridge over the river Cam. She asks him why he is so quiet. ‘I’m 24 years old,’ he says. ‘Nothing’ll ever come close again.’ Life Story was right about that.
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'"Hello Friend We Missed You", winner of this year’s Not the Booker prize, is recognisably alt-lit in style and sensibility, but with the benefit of added heart.'
Anthony Cummins on @RichOwainRobs's new novel.
'Wilder’s face abruptly hardened at my enquiry and all his geniality left him as he embarked on a bitter riff about what an appalling, ghastly person Monroe had been.'
William Boyd recalls meeting Billy Wilder in 1993.
Lovely to be back in the Literary Review after a sabbatical: here are two new, fabulous books on America in the late 1970s. Highly recommended. https://literaryreview.co.uk/too-nice-to-be-president via @Lit_Review