Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Martin's Links

For fans of classic American Literature, it does not get better than this. Dick Cavett writes about having John Cheever and John Updike on his show at the same time. This also has some great video links to the show in question.


I’m not sure I actually believe this, but it’s sufficiently odd enough to give one pause:


And, it would appear that one of the best memoirs I’ve read recently is going to be more than a bit difficult to get on this side of the Atlantic:

Paperboy, Christopher Fowler

I’ve been a fan of Christopher Fowler’s for 15 years now, having first discovered him in an Edinburgh bookstore I entered to escape a downpour. There was a display table of books that could only be categorized as ‘Urban Unease’, and his book Disturbia had the pride of place. Since then, I have read all of his books, following him from genre to genre. He is best known here for his Bryant and May mystery novels. His wonderful short story collection, ‘Old Devil Moon’ is also available in the US; unfortunately all of his other books appear to be out of print over here.

All of this is prelude to discussing his latest book, ‘Paperboy’, which unfortunately has not been picked up by an American publisher, and is only available in Britain. Paperboy is his first non fiction book, about growing up in early sixties England as a book loving boy whose flights of imagination are actively discouraged by his parents.

Any memoir is going to face difficulties with an audience unfamiliar with the times and events discussed unless they lived it themselves. However, the lack of familiarity with foods such as Weetabix, British films from the 50s and 60s and early Dr Who episodes should not dissuade anyone from reading this wonderful book. At a little over two score and ten, Christopher Fowler has taken a long and loving look back at his juvenile years. He does not sugarcoat the times, nor does he look at them through rose colored glasses. And some of the most poignant scenes are when the adult Fowler goes back to his old neighborhood, (a great deal of which has been paved over,) to compare his memories to what is there now. The similarities in experiences between the author and the reader far outweigh the differences.

This is more than likely going to be one of my favorite pieces of non fiction I read this year, and unfortunately, it does not look like it will be available in the U.S.. So, for the first time I can remember, I am going to refer any interested customers to another bookstore. If you are intrigued by this book, and want to know more, and perhaps purchase it, check out Waterstones.com (http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6305347)

Excerpts from the book have been posted on his website here:

and by the Daily mail here:
http://www.christopherfowler.co.uk/blog/?page_id=37 ,
and here:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1134316/Christopher-Fowlers-memoirs--The-wet-weekend-Herne-Bay-taught-tortured-dad-meaning-love.html

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