Times Literary Supplement Magazine 6034 : 23Nov18 : Books of the Year -

Times Literary Supplement Magazine 6034 : 23Nov18 : Books of the Year

Yayınevi: Central Dergi

Yayın tarihi: 11/2018

İngilizce |

Tür: Dergi

It may feel that the “Books of the Year” season begins earlier every year. Scarcely have the leaves darkened and scattered to the floor, and we are already marking the end of 2018. It is arbitrary, of course, and unfair to those slow bloomers, who may be clutched to our critics’ collective bosoms as the nights get darker, too late for public recognition. But – as with Brexit – we are where we are.

This week, our contributors have shared their favoured moments of reading pleasure. Alex Clark notes that “this year brought me my Ancient Mariner novel, the book I’m destined to traipse around fervently pressing into people’s hands; that it hasn’t scooped prizes all over the shop amazes and affronts me”. She is talking about Samantha Harvey’s The Western Wing, which made Clark “gasp”, which in turn made me buy the book this morning. Will Eaves’s novel Murmur, about Alan Turing, was “so good” it made Ian Sansom “want to shout”. It was also endorsed by Beverley Bie Brahic and – of course – extracted earlier in the pages of this paper. As was Lisa Halliday’s novel Asymmetry, which Clare Lowdon finds “a heartening reminder that you can do it any way you like, as long as it’s good”; a judgement shared by Sarah Moss, who will “be putting it on students reading lists as soon as the paperback comes out”, and Elaine Showalter.

The only writer whose name appears as many as four times in “Books of the Year” is the redoubtable Michael Hofmann. Hofmann makes his own sage recommendations, judging that “life is what happens between Michael Lewis books” and praising the “power and unpredictability” of Sally Rooney. But he also pops up as a translator (of Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz, proposed by Stephen Brown) and as a poet, of One Lark, One Horse, which Craig Raine celebrated for its “treatment of ageing – of being ontologically passé, of meagre memories, of belonging in spirit to a bygone era”. We all feel like that sometimes.

If I might be permitted to offer some favourites, among such exalted company: I enjoyed two hefty histories (Diarmaid MacCulloch on Cromwell; and Christopher Andrew on the global story of intelligence) that came out this year; and one thriller called Beat the Reaper, about a mob assassin turned A&E doctor, that didn’t.

Our cover image this week, by the way, comes from the British Landscape Photographer of the Year Competition and was taken by Rachel Brown. Happily, our final review of the issue is about lighthouses, and their beautiful and practical designs. These issues of the TLS don’t just get thrown together, you know.

Stig Abell

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