The setting of Joanna Briscoe’s third novel, You, is a wild and defiantly unacademic school in the West Country that resembles the progressive Dartington Hall in both mores and architecture. As a girl in the 1970s Cecilia was forced to attend it. Now a successful writer, she has returned to her childhood home to try to make sense of her teenage years, and in particular her relationship with Mr Dahl, the austere English teacher who seemed to be its saving grace.
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'After all, who knows what anybody is really like, or what they really think? The biographer – same as a painter of portraits – cannot help but reproduce himself to some degree.'
From the archive: Beryl Bainbridge talks to Sebastian Shakespeare.
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@johnkampfner's book traces the '"consensual culture" of contemporary Germany, its love of slogging processes and of "getting it right", characteristics epitomised by Angela Merkel.'
Do the Germans really 'do it better'? Thomas Kielinger explores.