Lord Gnome's Literary Companion

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Francis Wheen
Verso, Jun 17, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 362 pages
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His review has got to be 'in' by mid-day tomorrow ... at about 9 pm his mind will grow relatively clear, and until the small hours he will sit ... skipping expertly through one book after another and laying each one down with the comment, 'God, what tripe!' ... Then suddenly he will snap into it. All the stale old phrasesó'a book that no one should miss', 'something memorable on every page'ójump into their places like iron filings obeying the magnet.

Thus did George Orwell, writing forty years ago in Confessions of a Book Reviewer, describe the labours of a typical literary hack. Precious little has changed over the intervening decades; the servility of the satirical magazine Private Eye. Lord Gnome's Literary Companion assembles, in thematic order, the best of these columns to present an astringent, rude and funny survey of publishers and the published.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
Lunch anyone?
9
The sound of one hand backscratching
35
A million readers cant be wrong can they?
55
Never mind the quality look
105
Babyboomers change their nappies
129
Snoozing on their laurels
157
Verse than you think
187
Lust for lives
201
A bouquet of forgetmenots
231
Laughing all the way to the bonk
261
Freedom feminism Fergie flying
285
The rise of the nonbook
333
Index
355
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Francis Wheen is an award-winning columnist for The Guardian in London, and the deputy editor of Private Eye.

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