Category Archives: Fiction

Damned If I Look Back

Two things struck me while visiting Chicago last week. Firstly, of course, the architecture, with neo-Gothic, Art Deco, neoclassical and Modernist styles combining harmonically to form an exhilarating urban ensemble. Visiting Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and touring … Continue reading

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Literary Couplings

The sun is calm and bright, but it isn’t yet quite warm enough to idle outside with Denton Welch’s I Left My Grandfather’s House. So observant Welch’s eye for details of character and architecture, his voice so tender after the cool … Continue reading

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Ágota Kristóf’s Trilogy

Each book of Ágota Kristóf’s trilogy is entwined on a smaller scale in each of the books, echoing back the whole of the trilogy. Each successive book unbalances its predecessor to the point that its instability opens up an unbounded … Continue reading

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Cold Passion

We answer: ‘We don’t want to work for you, madam. We don’t want to eat your soup or your bread. We are not hungry.’ She asks: ‘Then why are you begging?’ ‘To find out what effect it has and to … Continue reading

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Time, Gin, Denton and Dorothy Sayers

Given the multitude of people on social media confused by the instigation of this year’s British Summer time, we ought be thankful that William Willett’s original proposal to move the clocks forward by 80 minutes, in 20-minute weekly steps on … Continue reading

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A Balloon of Emptiness

It seems astonishing to me the leap that Denton Welch makes in A Voice Through a Cloud. His two earlier novels show a way of observing the world that often provokes and startles. The leap Welch makes in A Voice Through a Cloud is in the … Continue reading

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Denton Welch’s Daydreams

The earlier novels are charming, filled with longing and remarkable imagery, but it is in Denton Welch’s A Voice Through a Cloud that his style and way of viewing the world come together to extraordinary effect. His narrator, highly autobiographical, is … Continue reading

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Holding Fast to Laughter

But this laughter is the reason why the Tuscans invented science and the clear Tuscan drawing in their cool paintings; laughter means distance. Conversely: where laughter is absent, madness begins. Every time I’ve had a chance to observe an outbreak … Continue reading

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Disturbing Fiction

It must have been at thirteen, fourteen at most that I found a piece of fiction both repugnant and riveting in equal measure. I remember the fiction. It was Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. Perhaps I was too young to read Kafka, … Continue reading

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Denton Welch’s Maiden Voyage

I resolved to read Denton Welch this year, enthused by Des’s advocacy, though the timing was determined by catching sight of a rather distinctive edition of Maiden Voyage, his first novel, in one of the Cecil Court bookshops: an American first … Continue reading

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