Untitled, by William Boyd Following Sebastian Faulks and Jeffrey Deaver, William Boyd – winner of most literary prizes going – takes on James Bond. The author of Restless and Any Human Heart is being tight-lipped: all he has said is that it will be set in 1969, and be a return to "classic Bond". Jonathan Cape, autumn. … [Read more...] about 2013 books preview: Jane Austen gets tough, The Shining revisited and Boyd takes on Bond
Poster boy book
“Before going on display in the shop this week, this had only ever been in private hands (Pauline Baynes’s for the majority of its existence). One of the points of interest is how much of a hand Tolkien had in the poster map; all of his suggestions, and there are many (the majority of the annotation on the map is his), are reflected in Baynes’s version,” said Gott. “The degree to which it is properly collaborative was not previously apparent, and couldn’t be without a document like this. Its importance is mostly to do with the insight it gives into that process.” … [Read more...] about Tolkien’s annotated map of Middle-earth discovered inside copy of Lord of the Rings
Her poster map, published in 1970, was bordered with the first illustrations of Tolkien’s characters, but was based on the fold-out map in the first volumes of the 1954 Ring trilogy, which had been drawn by Tolkien’s son, Christopher, to his father’s meticulous instructions. … [Read more...] about Tolkien annotated map of Middle-earth acquired by Bodleian library
William Stoner, we learn in the book's first paragraph, was a lifelong academic, who entered the University of Missouri as a student in 1910, and went on to teach there until his death in 1956. The value and purpose of academe is a key concern of the novel, while one of its main sequences describes a long and savage piece of departmental infighting. So Williams was perhaps a little naive, or at least over-hopeful, in thinking his novel wouldn't, or shouldn't, be labelled "academic". In the same way, Butcher's Crossing (to be reissued by Vintage in January) is indeed a "western", being set in a Kansas frontier town in the 1870s, with its main action a buffalo hunt in a lost mountain valley as winter approaches. It is so historically and anatomically precise, I am confident that, if you gave me a sharp knife, a horse and a rope, I could now skin a buffalo (though someone else would have to kill it first). Butcher's Crossing is a very good "western", as Stoner is a very good … [Read more...] about Stoner: the must-read novel of 2013
Fowles is hard work. A born recluse, he despises parties and pomp, is uneasy around other writers - he dislikes 'vain' Martin Amis in particular - and shuns fame even more than he craves attention. Hence his self-imposed, 40-year exile, hidden away in this magnificently shambolic house on the south coast. 'I know I have a reputation as a cantankerous man of letters and I don't try and play it down. But I'm not really. I partly propagated it. A writer, well-known, more-or-less living on his own, will be persecuted by his readers. They want to see you and talk to you. And they don't realise that very often that gets on one's nerves.' … [Read more...] about Fair or Fowles?