Back in the early 1980s Martin Amis compared harbouring an intellectual interest in football to being a pervert. Reviewing a preposterous anthropological study of the game, he outed himself as one of a rare breed. ‘Pointy-headed football-lovers are a beleaguered crew, despised by pointy-heads and football-lovers alike … Oh, how we have to cringe and hide,’ he wrote, echoing Humbert Humbert. Yes, high-minded football-types enjoyed the social cachet of Lolita’s nympholept.
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'Robert Silvers, editor of the New York Review of Books, once asked Isaiah Berlin who his ideal dinner guest would be. Without hesitation Berlin exclaimed, ‘William James!’'
'She digs her images into her story, so that they blow up like psychic land mines when the reader’s perception brushes against them.'
Hilary Mantel reviewing Margaret Atwood: a #BookerPrize double-header from the archive.
In Ali Smith's "Summer", 'the coronavirus pandemic has arrived. Lockdown happens too. There are allusions to Black Lives Matter, to online abuse and radicalisation, to things so recently news that it feels shocking to find them in a novel.'