5 Burst results for "London Review Of Books"
"london review books" Discussed on Talking Politics
"If you would like to support talking politics and history of ideas by choosing to get a virgin without adverts in the middle just for the link to talking politics plus wherever you got this podcast. It's very easy to sign up and we will be very grateful. Hello my name's david runciman and this is talking politics today. I'm talking with helen thompson and we are going to try and do an audit of the current state of british politics. Talking politics is brought to you in partnership with the london review books a literary magazine full of politics and a political magazine full of literature. Listeners can subscribe at a special rate of just one pound issue. By using the you're allah be dot me slash talk. That's alabi dot me slash tool helen. I'll tell you what he thought. We should focus on for this conversation and he gave me a list of five things. And i'm just gonna read this list style because we're gonna try and do all five if we can see. Youth told the the key themes for us to discuss trying to work out. What's going on in british politics. Aw pandemic the state of the union labor's deep weakness geopolitics including post brexit geopolitics and climate change. And in a way. I think the five things that we've been talking about pretty much throughout the whole of the last year trying to make sense of them is a good moment to try and pull them together with your help but i also wanted to say that we would love to get questions from people listening about any of themes so before. We take some brake which we are going to do this year. Helen i would love to try not to some of your questions about these big things. We've been talking about over the past year like everyone. We've been trapped in our own little bubble and we would love to hear more from you will tell you at the end about how you can get these questions to us. And then helen. I will do at least two sessions where we will try to answer as many of these questions as we can. They may not be on these five things. But these five things to us seem to cover most of the big questions and so this conversation's partly just as a way of kicking off those more in depth conversations in response to what you have to ask us so this is just gonna be mainly me asking some questions to helen. And maybe helena asking some questions to me so should we start with the pandemic talked about a quarter low. Obviously we are. Maybe a month six weeks out. Probably things look now from britain. Finally coming out of lockdown. The twenty two june date looks like is going to be postponed but probably only for two full weeks. The uk as a country is quite close. It's never gonna be fully vaccinated but it's quite close to being vaccinated to a level where it's possible to think that the worst of the pandemic is paused. I think when we talked about this in january. I said we are entering the phase. It's not an original full to me. Kissed almost being saying it all the time to. We're entering the phase of vaccine politics and was still in it and it's not just here so we don't want to talk about this today but there have been very interesting elections in germany. This week can sucks in the unhoped. In which the cd you done much better. The incumbents done much better than predicted and it follows a pattern that we saw in the local and devolved elections hit the incumbents under the conditions of vaccine politics seem to do well even in france macro the turmoil of french politics macron's approval ratings are holding up and sign away. The question for me is wendy. Think the phase of vaccine politics ends. Do you think but close to the january to july period politics just looking at the uk financial. It looked like one particular phase and there is a Vaccine politics coming once. We're outta bloat down and the vaccine comes a background. Fact of political life does something shift. I think the is that is is not possible to answer moment. I entirely agree with you that we've been through different phases of the politics of the pandemic and think that the beginning of this year was a turning point in both a turning point because of the politics vaccine began and it was also a turning point because the possibility the that britain was leaving the european union that trade agreement and to on. So i think the two things have gone hand in hand in the part of the fact that the politics of the vaccine is being radically easier full the conservatives than the period at site which ran from june time last year through to december which ran through the cummings about on castle the problems with schools in the severe difficulties with local lockdowns the complicated politics around that in relation to which parts of the country got resources from the treasury. That this has been a lot easier. Obviously for the government and they've been able to use it in. Paul i think to justify as don't even for brexit and that's why these two issues together now. I think that what happens. Next is gonna be opposing southie economy but i still think the politics vaccine is still got some very didn't because if it becomes clear that actually some of the other european countries and that with slow economic recovery on they still. I think going to be something to be gained from presenting the but it was good at the vaccine Narrative that johnson's being keen on. But also if it's the case it actually getting out all this becomes the more stop start.
"london review books" Discussed on Talking Politics
"If you would like to support talking politics and history of ideas by choosing to get a virgin without adverts in the middle just for the link to talking politics plus wherever you got this podcast. It's very easy to sign up and we will be very grateful. Hello my name's david runciman and this is talking politics today. I'm talking to the historian. Linda colley about the history of written constitutions. Not just why they matter but why they created all woke talking. Politics is brought to you in partnership with the london review books a literary magazine full of politics and a political magazine full of literature. Listeners can subscribe at a special rate of just one pound issue. by using. you're allah be dot me slash talk. That's alabi dot me slash recorded. This conversation with linda colley last week. It's part of the cambridge literary festival We did it live in front of an audience but unfortunately not reliable since it was on zoom. And we're talking about. Linda kelly's new book which is called the gun the ship on the pen wolf Constitutions on the making of the modern world jill lepore on talking politics few times wrote about in the new york and she describes this book. I quote as incandescent paradigm shifting and. She said if i was a nobel prize for history. Linda colley would be hung nominee. It's about the covers a lot and we cover quite a lot of ground in this compensation and we travel around the world. But i started. As perhaps i stopped too often with question about. Thomas hopes luminous stop as i rented iphone thinking about the a book that was written one hundred years before you start you. Start roughly in the middle of the eighteenth century. And i find myself thinking about a line. From a book. Written in the middle of the seventeenth century thomas hoped leviathan in which he says one of the famous lines in that book in which he says covenants without the sword about words essentially meaning treaties contracts constitutions need assault they need military fools they need might behind them or they're just empty words and your book is really the opposite story in lots of ways or at least as it turns out on its head and it's it's about how not words need the sword but the soul needs words. Wall conquest produces extraordinary demand for writing. Down what politics is trying to make sense of it so we come to warfare in a bit but if we start with words and there's a big question to start with is really at the heart of what you're writing about as you wrote this book. How did you come to understand the power of the written word. Why during this period eighteenth nineteenth century does the written word become so important so powerful for making sense of politics political conflict. Yeah i mean as you know. Engraved on written statements of rule government. Go back a long way. In some societies what is changing in the mid eighteenth century and onwards increasingly as well hardly of course literacy is on the increase in many societies. This not much incentive in circulating constitutions political tests this sort if you can have some wider audience. Printing presses are becoming more widely established because loaded. These texts said not just circulating in the country. They are merged. Romell the empa- damage from that crossing boundaries that acting as manifestos. It's one of one of their tractions to rulers particularly new rulers. If you're setting up a new state like the united states in seventeen eighty seven th year the philadelphia convention. You want the political world in so positive exists to know about how your policy is organized. Wyatt is now among the powers of the globe but it costs us also feeding into this. What we call the enlightenment which sees a new emphasis on systematising government and also a new culture the legislature one aspect to that. Which i like is that you get some people. Light load bolingbrook arguing in his day. Stickle fashion that moses didn't get the ten commandments from god. No moses was the legislator he used god to advance his creative laws for humankind and this cultural the legislature which could see an art and architecture printed. Whatever is again. I sink feeding into this. A dea that connick political texts can be useful in new and divergent ways. And you mentioned as part of this technological story because this is about printing and in a way to know if this the right way to put it it's almost the democratization of printing imprinting suddenly becomes this fickle because it matters a lot. He controls the presses. You are them. And he's able to get access to them. But there's a real dynamism around the printed word in this period and as he said he's about circulation it has to move and it does move through the printing press and the connection with the printing press brains advantages to some people's political projects and causes further disadvantages to other people's other people's who don't have a written language for example. How are they going to compete in this new age of political technology. Will you can get over that. I mean one of the things as i tried to explain it. In the book that accompanies the growth of missionary activism in different sectors of the clo- mission missionaries often set up printing presses to issues at owed religious texts. But once you got a printing press in situ in pacific islands in asia whatever than it can be used for different purposes including exploratory political constitutions. Which is which is what happens. So as i said at the beginning this is also story about war and conflict and the relationship between the two. So it's not simply the idea that you have to back everything up by might but in an age of a nuclear warfare complicated global contests ongoing contests and great movements as well so this accumulation of ideas goes along with secular of people so lots of the fascinating characters. You have in this book. Some well known. Some less well-known many of them are soldiers or at least that part time soldiers and many other things too and they move around the globe. It's it's extraordinary but some of them. How have they gotten. And how many different places they see so these constitutions this attempt to write down how politics should be a country principles ideas it goes with war. How how do you understand that relationship. What across obviously the always be wars but by the mid eighteenth century. That's a more pronounced shift. In the nature of warfare really big transcontinental walls become more common seventy s wool. The french revolutionary end polio. Therefore they have more impact they shake things up mall but they also pose enormous strains for the powers that involve themselves in these conflicts. Even the greatest. Because if you're going to fight hybrid wolf as i call it by which i mean..
"london review books" Discussed on Spies of London
"There for for taking and the KGB took it and assigned it to miladi Once home. Trained up had been in the Red Army had gone to school in America. He had this kind of international background. He sailed to New York or an ocean liner and became a spy as with all good spies. They all bought several names. He met a man on bench in Central Park who introduced himself as Emile goldfish. He was really William Fisher but better known as a Rudolf Abel. He had been born in New England in 1903, but to Russian parents. So the thing about communism Cold War spying post-war spying and indeed the moles of the thirties the King Philip and so on they will often driven by ideology and I've mentioned this several times on the walks and in podcast that it is difficult to put ourselves into the mindset of the thirties forties in Europe. War was inevitable sides had to be chosen and some people chose the Victoria side and some people chose the other side that's always happening but for some reason the echo And the ripples from that time still live with us today. It is very obvious for us to say that communism has its limitations that it's economically bankrupt ideologically bankrupt way. It works on a Ponzi scheme at the center where if you get rich and the masses the millions and millions of normal people get manipulated and lied to now that may be a very brief overview of Communism, but it's a pretty accurate one not to say Catholicism isn't without its faults, but it at least tries or strives to be meritocratic and fair that's a different conversation to say that it might not always work like that. But getting rich is part of the leader capitalism, whereas in communism. It's it's described as a kind of failing of an evil unless you're one of the elite of course in which case it's strongly encouraged communism has at its heart a a deep cynicism and a double life and from a distance from England from France Germany, even from Canada and America if you read the text books about communism, you think we'll okay. Everybody has a job every looked after wage. He has a home is no homeless people. Everybody's fed. Nobody's hungry. It kind of looks great at a time when people were hungry in Britain. They were starving in the thirties in America this kind of notion of a society which could be organized in which everybody got along and was nice to each other and looked out for each other and helped each other and there were no rich people and there were no poor people and everybody was middle class. These were powerful ideas for first of all, upper-middle-class people never had to work and never needed to but also for anybody working classes anybody would be attracted to that. Once they saw the poverty in wage Europe is completely understandable to me that intelligent people in huge numbers thought that communism was a good idea. You have Kim filter you have charge blade you have melodia Lonsdale all on different sides different Nash his different backgrounds, but all agreeing with each other that communism was better than Fascism and that it had to be one of the other there was no middle way you either a communist of the left or a fascist of the right place. And everybody hated the fascists there for anybody with a rational logical mind would become a communist. So that kind of thinking has led me to soften my opinions of filthy and the rest of that particular the episodes about guy Burgess and the walking special episodes as well. But I will be coming back to this with a Donald MacLean book to Alan Bennett has helped to persuade me that the spies were not the traitors that allows people like to think he wrote to at least two players about spies possibly more and one of them in particular about guy Burgess and he is off the view that there were no worse than the rest of them and that they weren't half wrong bad as people make out Lonsdale originally entered Canada using the identity of a live double that is a living Canadian communist who had volunteered his passport for the cause and in later on became this dead double goddamned to have a child born in Canada nineteen twenty-four who had emigrated to the Soviet Union with his finish mother and died there in nineteen forty-three melotti first got hold an identity card, which is easier to get than a passport wage. And then that led on later to a passport of Canada. He then writes too so s the the Chinese school at the University of London gets on a course there and somebody recommends to him. He should join the Royal Seas league in Saint James is on the S and James's which is interesting to me cuz I nearly joined that once cuz they have a deal with the London Library. They do have clubs all around the world and it strikes me as a very obvious place for a spy to arrive at home. You can live there in an International Community where not many questions will be asked meladi returned from Canada to New York crossing over Niagara Falls is Gordon Lonsdale in February 1955 and made his way back to London. Now, this is a book review in the style of the London Review Books. So we don't really mention the book very much. It is a Kindle single. It's only sixty or seventy Pages. It'll cost you about eighty pounds about a dollar home and it's fabulous definitely recommended. It's clean. It's short. It's factual. It's done by a pro. You can read it in about an hour, but it's just amazing. It's really good. There's a guy in Bridge. The one who eventually led to his downfall was Harry Horton Horton joined the Navy at sixteen and after the second world war took a position at the admiralty that led him to a posting in Warsaw in nineteen fifty-one by now in his mid-forties. They felt out of place in the Diplomatic community and Halton dealt in the black market selling penicillin. It seems to be money that drove him to reproach a secretary of the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw. So Horton was in it for the money not for radiology, which immediately put him down the ladder in lonsdale's eyes and indeed many other people's eyes to he was British, but he portrayed his country for cash but nevertheless his wartime service and background eventually led him to a real life a top-secret job. The KGB were not sure that he could be bought as they pretended to be from Poland and said look, we're polish spies went to work for us. It was only later that they admitted that they were actually the kg be dead. But by this time Horton had a job at the underwater weapons establishment at Portland in Dorset, and he had absolutely white-hot connections there. So he was working on with his girlfriend off the sonar for Britain's first nuclear submarine, the dreadnoughts. Absolutely Prime information KGB had a few problems with him. He was difficult to manage and the eventually assigned him to God and Lonsdale home run him for I think a number of years certainly quite a while. It was the 11th of July 1959. When Horton was first introduced to Lonsdale both men had completely opposite opinions of each other still hated Horton and Horton thought they were kind of friends now no story about spies in Britain during this period of time would be complete without mentioning Peter right the Spy Catcher And fact the writer of the book called home I capture and this seems to be a common theme that Peter Reich wrote his book to make money because his MI5 pension was so bad. There is somebody in this story who had to go into business in retirement age. His his armor five pension was so bad. It makes you wonder whether am I five would have done better just to give them all a proper pension to be honest, especially at that time as public-sector pensions were supposed to be generous. Anyway, that's just my sniping and indeed the man who eventually betrayed Lonsdale and George Blake was given the codename sniper. It was late April nineteen sixty and someone had been sending Anonymous letters to the CIA written in German. So the agents sniper claimed that the Russians have two very important spies in Britain one in British intelligence the other in the Navy these two unknowns were codenamed Lombardo one and Lombardo to and this was during the aftermath of the philby scandals British intelligence were certain they had no mole, but he'd later turned out to be George Blake. It was the Navy one that worried people because they didn't know who it could be. This was Horton remember and the claim was that name sounded something like Hopkins or hopner, which is very far away in SpongeBob. And sound but the case was eventually handed to a guy called Charles L. Will it was later found that LOL was in one of the photographs found in one of lonsdale's briefcases some of the words he had unwittingly off or was he at a party with Lonsdale before Lonsdale was suspected. In fact lol became suspected as well by Peter right and others and part of the handling this month. Let painter right to suspect Hollister head of MI5 who I've also mentioned in a previous episode. This is absolutely why I start to think that human intelligence. This kind of agency wage work is never a good news. It leads everybody to a state of febrile paranoia on both sides of the table MI5 who are trying to catch these moles becoming more paranoid than everybody else and start seeing moles everywhere and the whole thing every ten or twenty years degenerates into this kind of paranoid meltdown which in any other business wage Walk of Life would be seen as absolutely potty and it seems absolutely normal when it's upper-middle-class people with degrees talking about Marxism and I think this kind of amateurishness which wage went on in the security services certainly through the late eighties and the fall of the Berlin Wall was partly what the 1994 intelligence had was trying to address was trying to say look if this thing is so secret that nobody actually knows about it. How do we know we're doing the right thing in the right way in the most efficient way is costing hundreds of millions of pounds a year to run these agents and to catch the foreign agents and all we end up doing is offering a paid each other now again, that's a simplification. But sometimes you have to simplify in order to illustrate the point. So on we go Halt and starts to meet Lonsdale in London and hand over paperwork and so on they train each other up of rather Lonsdale trends of Halton to take good photographs using spy cameras and other equipment and later on some of the briefcases that are dead. Stolen by MI5 apprehended by MI5 contain all this amazing 1960s spy equipment and I have to say that 1960s by equipment is way more exciting than modern technology because everything had its specific purpose. You wouldn't have a phone that could take pictures. You know that everybody had you know, there were Specialists cameras miniaturized cameras, which the mayor possession of such a device would cast suspicion on you. First of all, they were very expensive to make difficult to get hold of and why would any normal person have a spy camera because they take bad photos was now everybody's got a spy camera in the Palm this a thousand times better than what the KGB could make in the sixties. So the times have changed the technology has changed and I think there's something really romantic and exotic about this Old Town. She thinking about the umbrella on the bridge again, of course. So on we go the Watchers there were surveilled Horton was followed to a bench outside the Old Vic where he met Lonsdale and wage. When the MI5 guys followed Lonsdale after the meeting they realized he walked around in circles for a long time before going back to his car which had already previously passed in the street. This is spy trade craft. This is not something that you'll person would do. So the Finger of Suspicion went to Lonsdale as with all Spy operations, they didn't just arrest him because what they really wanted was to find out who he knew and what he was doing. He had a flat at the white box near Regent's Park flat 334. He had a bungalow in ruislip and this Bungalow in ruislip turns out to be pretty important not least to me because I used to live near here and I can imagine exactly where this Bungalow is. You can get the book if you want to know the exact address, but it's precisely positioned between ruislip station and ruislip Gardens at the end of a road and the the cul-de-sac leads into a footpath that's not wide enough for a car to go down. This means that you can approach or leave the cottage being sure that you're not being followed because obviously if you follow by pedestrian, you could spot them straight away and you certainly can log Live by a college town down a footpath even better. I said Gardens is across the road from North Pole to the RAF base, which is actually the base where Lonsdale was exfiltrated from when he was involved in a prisoner swap many years later. The location is fabulous. It was owned by two Russians. Again, they lied about their backgrounds and so on pass themselves off as other people Russian book dealers Lonsdale lived with them for many months. And in fact MI5 lost wages of them in London and it took them a while to catch him in ruislip and after he had been arrested and jailed the people in the house were also arrested and jailed as well for helping him. And because Lonsdale was the prize assets. He was sprung out of jail bath KGB in a prisoner swap with gravel win, another famous spy, all the people that helped and worked with the Hortons the Russians in the Rye slip Bungalow stayed in jail for many more years and long sell only got 25 years. Whereas famously George Blake. I think it was forty-two. It was so long that Blake escaped was Lonsdale didn't even need to escape cuz he was sprung out by a prisoner swap. The whole thing is a who's home. Of spies and Spike catches Peter writes here Rodger. Holly says here. Lonsdale's here legs here Philip. He's here and really none of them suspected God and Lonsdale if it was off that polish tip-off and Hortons amateurism. He might never have been caught it's easy to say that if this hadn't happened then that would never have happened people say that all the time but Lonsdale was such a professional and he'd grown to like his lifestyle in the west as wheeler to find which is crucial for me. I think if you hate to the west and you hate capitalism and you hate all of that, it's easy to sneak loyal to Communism but having lived in America lived in Canada lived in Britain, he got a taste for the lifestyle and although he remained loyal to Russia until the end. When his Allegiance was tested to save a lease and he may have been killed in a poisoning which if you've heard minor Valley episode, he will realize it still going on Lonsdale retained his allegiance to Russia until the towards the end, but he did enjoy birth. Left and I think he might never have been caught wearing not for the tip-off right became paranoid started to suspect Rodger Hollis, everybody else. He suspected anybody who wasn't him basically and indeed by catch a book has largely been discredited but they eventually traced Lonsdale to ruislip. They investigated the owners of The Bungalow found a communist past and Lonsdale was caught and given 25 years. This is a great lunch time read it'll take you about an hour or 90 minutes. If you're a slow reader, it's virtually free. It's less than a pound on Amazon. It's a Kindle single Gordon Carrera from the BBC is right tone. He's a very rational journalist. He's used all the usual sources that we took in archive Christopher Andrew and so on Nigel West a lot of this was already known but what I liked about this book is its shortness and the wage sticks the fats and really clearly describes a time and a place in Western European history. So that's got in Lonsdale not a sports bag, but a dead Russian boy who had his eyebrows. Stolen and used for Espionage Garden on stale died in suspicious circumstances after drinking vodka. He might have had a stroke his father died young equally. Well, he might have been poisoned so off on that bombshell I leave you for another week. We have lots coming up in the podcast. We have Donald MacLean. We have a few John le carre things lined up for you and I want to dig deeper into some of the locations on the same box as well. The original episodes were done in fifteen minute chunks to help you out. Keep it short one thing. I realized that the podcast allows is a walk virtual walk where the locations are further apart. So Spies of the home counties might be coming soon to take in John the carriers childhood home under home. He lived in grammar sinden as a professional man working for MI5 and MI6 and of course the race live Bungalow lived by Golden Lamb style so that Spite of the home counties. I will also revisit some of the London spy walks as well. We have a very full Autumn for you as the weather and the leaves turn off..
"london review books" Discussed on The Guardian Books Podcast
"Yeah. The god. Hello, welcome. To the guardian books podcast. I'm Sean Kane on Clairol mustard on Richard league as London braces itself for an extraordinary looking exhibition MichelAngelo's work at the Royal Academy this week, we're going to time travel back to Constantinople during your cement empire with the novel that imagines Michelangelo traveling to advise the Sultan written by Mattia Senna. But I can't through the cost is the cost of book awards is still won't allow literary year and reliably gives us fun stuff to chew over divided into five categories first novel novel biography poetry and children's book when is a bird triumphant from each short-list before competing to be named overall book of the year, it is unusual, but not unknown for biography and children's books to be crowned. But it is more often given to novels or poetry glare. You're going to be speaking with biography category. When it bought van s did his book stand up this year. Yeah, it's it is a lovely lovely memoirs memoir. Partly family memoir. But it's partly. Sort of a mystery. I sold in the mystery of how his family came to adopt a Jewish girl. This is a Dutch family in the second World War and give her sanctuary and then she left because she was in danger of being rumbled. But then she went back after the war ended. And then there was a big family bus stop. And he's very good at doing the sort of hanging reveal while, Michael. But it's also written in such interesting limpid way, he's one of those writers who has no fear of simplicity, which is not to say, it's anything to do with being simplistic. So it's a sort of the way the sentences put together a a sort of utterly without pretension. However, I do have to say that part of the reason that I wanted to into view him now because so much attention is being given to Sally ruining who is going into battle with the novel of the year, and they're all sorts of reasons for thinking Sally, Rooney will win it not least of all is that just been doing a quick count because I'm a bit obsessive. With prizes and with with this sort of hardcore data and novels of one. It fifty percent of the time. They've won it more. They've actually slightly more so novels in the first novel overall novel category have won it more than all the other categories put together. So the likelihood is that it's going to be one of the novels, and we also have a book. That's got extraordinary stature. And but I really really rate the cutout girl. I just thought this is absolutely the moment to bring a quiet voice, really classy voice that might otherwise get overlooked spoil it to say that he goes and meets her in the current day is that she's still she's still alive. No, absolutely. Not she's in her eighties. And he he's very humble in in her presence. You know, he's he says that he is constructing a narrative, which isn't so clear when she's remembering it because she was only a little girl when it happened her. So he he's constructing something out of pieces, but also very respectful as the fact that she is the survivor, and it is her story. Now, one of the interesting. Things about this list is that three of these books are to do with the war. And so so you've got to cut out go, which is the second World War. You've got the sky locks war, which is the children's novel from Hillary MCI, which is set in the first World War, and then you've got assurances which is the poetry collection by j Morgan and that is set in the Cold War, which I find really really interesting. And in fact, the the it's that collection sheri-, which gives us I think it gives us a couple of lines which could stand for the literature of conscience of our era, one of which is the opening line, which is born from a need to counteract the threat that is the opening line of this book length am, I just think, you know, we're we're talking about people who there's a sense that there is a need for literature to have moral purpose at the moment. Well, why because we're in a mess. Aren't we? The first novel turns the seven deaths of eveland Hardcastle is probably far out on that. Pretty much. It's fun Plotti. So much fun, actually. And I I saw the title, and I have to say that I just a little bit based on the title because we had we've had quite a few of those of quirky novels that are like the eight servants owes of naming names city thing, and I've always just come forward of that. So I definitely judged based on the title. But then I was speaking to Alison whose main reporter on guardian books knees. And she really rated it and she was known. No the premises. Really good saw actually looked at the plot. And it's such a cool premise so Evelyn of the title is killed as she's murdered at a party thrown by her parents. And there's a fella could Adrian who basically groundhog day style is reliving the same day that she is murdered. And he wakes up in the body of different guests at the party and has to try and figure out who kills her on the day. And it's such a good idea and Alison she interviewed him when he won the first novel category. And it was kind of hilarious. We thought. We might go in on Saudi Rooney being named novel of the because she was such a big fuss her normal people. We haven't actually said. So used to say. Talking about about two years. But then she spoke to him, and he was sorry. Just sort of ordinary about his novel. Like, he said, oh, no. I had an awful time writing it. No. I've probably got one book in me. Are any wanted to write it because I really like Agatha Christie going home with John rose that suddenly Jonah titles are beginning to pop up they popped up on the on the book list as well. We've had a few offices. It seems to me really to being public about their love old, John Ritter. I've seen quite a lot of actor Christie from several of list over the last year, quite a few people that write for the books that made me call them in review actually, Christie's basically they once a week one of the strong piece in the London review books by John Lanchester the other day saying exploring the fact that he'd read more than fifty Christie's. Why why is she the only author that I read more than fifty of not not you wouldn't consider her to be sort of normal stamping ground for literary writer, but this isn't a straightforward of others credibly intricately plotted, he wakes up in various bodies in various days and has to kind of get in and out of them because he wake him at different time of days. Very well put together I like it. And I it's the sort of thing that I think Rooney's had a bit of a rough time in a way in that. She has been so publicly lauded which then like inevitably and depressingly then also provoked some sort of backlash to her and particularly because she's a young woman. Then that's mainly picked about why she successful. Why she getting talked about all the time as opposed to is a good thing. And leaving it at that. So why why do we not think we're not giving very much attention to the children's when they're older or indeed the poetry win. Which is a it is a fabulous piece of work. Well, the funny thing with with children, I wonder whether this is really know is certainly regarded the cost of whether this is change, but only to children's books of everyone the overall book of the year. So we had Phillip Pullman back in two thousand and one winning the children's book the was that for the final booth, amber Spyglass, and he didn't actually a little bit of sort of true devotees information. He didn't actually submit it. It had to be called in by the judge. Such as approving of prizes guarantee price. And then Francis hugging you one in two thousand fifteen. Yeah. That was actually one of the things I did on his desk. Oh that was what I started. Anyway. Two two winners from children's actually interesting poetry has won eight times, which is more than biography. And that quite surprised me six biographies of one. And this is only since one thousand nine hundred the prize itself in its former incarnation as the Whitbread goes back to nineteen seventy-one. But they only introduced book of the oh nineteen five and poetry. We were talking about this before the poetry is kind of a funny one because when you look at the poetry collections that have won. They're often always about death five five of the eight collections that have one that with dying and illness, serious illness or bereavement and Ted. He's birthday lettuce was so and and obviously last year when a hell dot more. He won posthumously and the collection was written from my hospital bed parts of it. So. The odds for sure is not. Down. Maybe.
"london review books" Discussed on Monocle 24: Meet the Writers
"Instantly fell into shape. Do you think it hadn't affect on you? It's one in fact that you've been Agra phobic. Did you think that's stemmed from from nothing? Anyway, I think stemmed is too strong. I think you know, people who have genetic predispositions to anxiety and stuff is what it is. But you can manage an address it differently. I think the feeling of a big secret lurking in the background. I think my mother lived with a tremendous exposure, it was always very very difficult and charged thing going across the border anything into possibles was very very charged in ways, we shouldn't really make sense as a child, and of course, makes complete sense now. And I think that she lived with a sense of a thing that could detonate, you know, that this is thing that could completely blow up a life because my father didn't know, nobody knew and I think that may have fed into a predisposition an. Inherent predisposition to kind of anxiety. And and the feeling of everything could suddenly go wrong any moment. I think those two things overlapped, but you did deal with it. I mean, if you've managed it. Yeah. I mean therapy helped and also did something incredibly stupid, which is I thought writing the book would help I felt excavating the story would help and the reason that's incredib- stupidest. Because when you write one of the things you have complete control over everything every comma, every semi Conan mood rhythm, timing, webby, publish it. Not you control the whole thing. And so that was actually know how tools does excavating and processing it. But what was what was very very difficult. But it was it was publishing it because that was the point to attract she had to stand up and talk as Jane right now and a really hated publishing that book and every. Other book published the processes gradually easier. You start you feel funny at the beginning. And then you will not get used to it. Get us talking about it. But that got harder and harder and harder party. Because if he writes about a divisor, your listens if you have about right about your life, people feel free to ask you, absolutely anything. And I could you know, well, do that the things that people at the hands in the audience? Do you think your mother love your father in an and that's you know, the fact that they feel entitled to ask questions entirely my full of number. And so it was very very difficult as a hated it got worse. But at the end of it it was. And I didn't notice they're happening. But by the end of it, I had to excavated something I had faced down the feeding of a secret that might detonate and go off as one of the things that have happened to realize, oh, I actually without quite realizing. I did this big pieces psychic work while I wasn't quite realizing it did you come to right in the first place. You're at Oxford you doubled with postgraduate research. And then and then decided to leave that behind will it always wanted to be a writer one of funny things that happened that I didn't realize a particular historic moment at the time. But she does that was I'd always want to be Ratchasima have to have a day job. And then just by chance really there was this thing it became possible to freelance to make a living financing for papers. And while I was a graduate student rose. That's what I wanted to do instead of getting a teaching job of being an academic, which was the track. I seem to be. Home that I didn't have quite the patients. I think to be, you know, in graduate graduate world, and I like being interested in you subjects and it didn't quite work. You know, you had to immerse more extensively the years and years. So I thought no I'd rather do sort of right pieces of Mugen's and write books at the same time. And the way that the newspapers were eight newspapers had money, which is a strange and bizarre parallel reality now, but they did and be you could afford to live in London. Oh, not much money, which is another strange and bizarre low thing, and I thought well now, I'll do that the right bits and pieces and and books on the side and a time actually finishing my first book going getting started on it. Because I think I thought I'd wake up in the morning and fan that I had written a book that is by the side of the bed that tends not to work. So I finally lately got round to there's a long long nurse plan at wants to be writer since I was a kid. Now, you also. Arrest on critique at one point and you'll first book the debt to pleasure, which came out in ninety six is about a gourmet. It sounds the most wonderful story. Yeah. He's a sort of he's a crazed snow psychopath. Mass murderer actually turns out as reading the book and very interesting idea of writing but pretended to be a cook. But but was actually something else acts like to cook book, but it's actually a sort of thriller. Oh remote a story within as humor nine people in the course of the book, he's the most snobbish deranged person, you can possibly imagine. And the question I was most often asked when it came out with is auto biographical. An F word won the Whitbread first novel would the Betty trusts prize. The wholesome didn't prize that Julia child award for literary food, right? I mean did incredibly well in really set you up then as a writer to very well published in twenty five languages, which was great fun as as traveling zooming around with it. And it did well enough to let me quit my day job as deputy editor of the London review books on that point. There was a very very nineteen Ninety-six. And there was a very clear cut thing about if I was going to try make a living as full time right to it was then never. I mean, if I'd known the extent of the disruptions in kale's, and they hem in the industry that were coming. It would been completely mad to make that make that choice. But I'm very glad I didn't it would find just the old's yours went radio on it. Because one of the things by being a writer, which has wanted to do since I was about ten was that you had this mental image of it as not exactly sitting at a Victorian s creek twat with freshly dipped quill pen, but the basically it was a stable landscaping the idea of being a writer meant the same thing. And in fact, it's been front row seat. Or maybe even a driver see in this process of convulsive technological economic revolution rechange across absolutely everything in publishing where my in journalism should do to pay the bills to and that's been you know, it's been fascinating. But it's not a tool what I thought I was finding up for nineteen Ninety-six and you'll second Mr. Phillips came out in. Two thousand looks at that change in a way deals with male middle class concerns about getting older and the way that that our lives change in aren't always in our control Roussel work. I was very interested in this story that came out of those horrible merge. Nearly nine hundred woman stabbed death Wimbledon common reaching the cow and the police investigated, absolutely everyone. They made a map of everyone that was seen moving around on the and there was a person who several people reported. It was a man just in the suit sitting on a park bench, and please Finchley chased him. And today, someone who'd been made redundant who's going out to work every day until family, and that really stuck in my head that was the seed of the book, and maybe think a lot about male identity being linked to work, which I think I'm not sure if that's still historically as true, very interested in whether that was gonna particular thing of particular moment, where female density was around motherhood and Maryland and NC was. Around work provoked, the providing start as a thing that was shifting this landscape was shifting quickly. And the other link thing was that it was completely rational to be someone like my father who worked for the same company for thirty as number Todd that was sort of what work was what you had one employer across the lifetime. And I was very struck. By the fact, that that was a normal thing to think if you were born in the character Novus born in nineteen forty five lots of people that then I was born in nineteen sixty two nobody my age thought that I had completely gone idea of an entirely stable landscape of work work is your identity, and that was the next of questions those interested in team that you really carried on with because you have a couple of books and many many articles on the world of finance. So at an interested in in the way that you'll capital, which is possibly the book, people know, you most four came about because you were writing it, and then and then actually writing nonfiction at the same time I wanted to write a novel about London party. Because as you mentioned the buyoed not from London. I was very struck by how much the city changed convulsive, Advil recognition. But I learned people from here had noticed. They're like the proverbial boiling frog starts in the Kobo. Shen doesn't it? So winter novel about big fat London novel cold in my head and. And as such thinking about looking sunny realized that actually I didn't understand it. And that the the the thing I was interested in was this change, and the driver of changes all to do finance that finances of magic wand made London this very rich causing politician world city able to to some people in the city, and if I wasn't taking interest in that. I just did I didn't know, you know, who the force determining my neighbors. I mean, not met for literally the people who lived in my street. And so I started taking interested in it. And when I was studying reading and trying to understand it. That's when the credit crunch happened. So I ended up writing in parallel, really pieces. And now a couple of books about finance and economics in a way that you know, the wizard behind the curtain of the of the modern world and just to help real layman understand how am I went wrong? And why it works will. I got very interested in that that party because. You were these huge, economic fools is the around us and above. It's very difficult to feel that we have any agency or any control. And actually that feeding is correct. A lot of the time. We don't but in order just begin that process of having some grip on the second Sox's around your father that that action of understanding is very important. It's very important place to begin from. And that feeding of remember hearing a firefighter five hundred been maybe under his wife on some radio program. So you tell us what we did wrong. What did we what could we have done different? And the answer was actually nothing. These things happened to you. And there's not one single solitary thing that you could have done different that you did wrong. And that is very very difficult thing to hear we so imbued with the idea that we have agency over in life. But actually with these big economic things sometimes we just don't, and that makes understanding processes, I think, you know, more important capital is made into television series. It was which won an international EMMY award, and now friend we didn't actually producer diet waxy went to and Pete back. He wrote it genius TV rights rate. It went to the woods herminie in New York. See not language win. And then did enjoy it went up to accept it. And it was it was in the Hilton hotel in New York, and he's actually standing at the same podium talking into the same microphone. That Donald Trump to that. When he accepted his victory speech two days before it was quite strange occasional the entire room, basically, stealing shock reeling. And cedary said it was a profoundly surreal moment. Standing standing in the place where trumpet stood