Tag Archives: James Joyce

Hack Work

Review – The Prose Factory: Literary Life in England Since 1918 by D. J. Taylor

Is there such thing as a presiding literary culture today? Such is the implicit question of the final chapters of D. J. Taylor’s The Prose Factory, a history of literary life in this country since the end of the Great War. Surveying the ruins of the contemporary publishing industry, where technology has aided the self-publisher and self-publicist and little else, he concludes that there is not. Instead, there could soon be two competing literary cultures – one distinctly and deliberately highbrow, a culture of expensive hardbacks and fashionably small circulations, and the other a culture of genre fiction, ghost-written autobiographies and discounted bestsellers. Continue reading

An Enemy of Promise

Review – Any Human Heart by William Boyd

I approached this novel with some trepidation. It had been reviewed well enough; and those of my friends and relatives who had read it all agreed that it was excellent. I suppose my reluctance stemmed from a sense that the journal format is a fairly tired and stale one, and that it can make good novelists produce frankly inferior stuff for no other reason, it seems to me, than the pursuit of narrative ease. It’s tough to be original if the events of every day are conveyed in under 250 words and always begin with ‘Dear diary’. Continue reading