Lord Gnome's Literary Companion
Verso, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 362 pages
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 phrases--'a book that no one should miss', 'something memorable on every page'--jump 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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The sound of one hand backscratching
A million readers cant be wrong can they?
Never mind the quality look
Babyboomers change their nappies
Snoozing on their laurels
Verse than you think
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Independent, The (London): Paperbacks
Lord Gnome's Literary Companion edited by Francis Wheen (Verso, pounds 11.95). Private Eye's scourge of sacred cows leaves no laurel in place, ...
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