Private: Carey, Ali excerpts, more

An excerpt of Peter Carey’s My Life As A Fake, about a literary hoax similar to one that occurred in Australia in the 1940’s, appears in the Guardian Review. In early June, John Mullan described the literary hoax that inspired the novel.

Monica Ali reads an excerpt from Brick Lane, which is reviewed by Michael Gorra. (“…earlier this year, Granta named [Ali] as one of Britain’s 20 best young novelists. It was a remarkable choice — she hadn’t yet published a word — but no one who reads ‘Brick Lane’ will doubt its justice.”)

A.S. Byatt admires Henry James’ The Bostonians and puzzles over its unenthusiastic reception:

Early American reviewers did not like it – they felt James was mocking his serious countrymen. Rebecca West disliked it. She admitted “the beauty of the writing” but found the “musical disclosure of fine material interrupted past any reader’s patience by a nagging hostility to political effort”. Modern students, well read in feminist critiques of masculine assumptions, frequently find the novel unacceptable or unreadable. Leon Edel, James’s comprehensive biographer, is similarly unresponsive – he calls The Bostonians “a failure by comparison with his best work”.

But FR Leavis in The Great Tradition singled the novel out as “wonderfully rich, intelligent and brilliant”….

Boyd Tonkin interviews Jim Crace.

P.G. Wodehouse’s Blandings Castle reportedly has been identified.