D J Taylor

Where Mischief Starts

Magic Seeds

By

Picador 294pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

ABOUT FIVE YEARS ago I had the pleasure of spending three days at an Italian literary festival in the company of the greatest living British writer. ‘Sir Naipaul’, as our hosts somewhat nervously referred to him, was clearly determined to enjoy himself. He came dressed in a thick, well-cut suit and wearing a trilby hat (the temperature in the hills above Turin was in the 80s), was politely exigent about translators, transport and diet, and delivered a memorable demolition of the entire Castilian literary tradition in the presence of at least one Spanish-speaking novelist. It was a consummate dramatic performance and I enjoyed myself no end.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,