Lord Gnome's Literary Companion
Verso, Jun 17, 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 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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The sound of one hand backscratching
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Snoozing on their laurels
Verse than you think
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