Lent by Ali

An excellent biography of the writer who is fast becoming a favourite of mine, though I have only read a few of his books so far.  The research that has gone into this book is phenomenal and gives an old-fashioned close reading of an author’s life through the characters portraying parts of that life in his books.  While sometimes this can feel forced, in this book there is a good case for all of the parallels drawn, and they have been done meticulously; yet the book is never boring and in fact I’d have maybe liked a little more detail in places.  Hall does not draw a veil over the slightly more unsavoury aspects of Young’s views (especially those on Jewish people), and does not make apologies for Young as a "man of his time"; this makes me respect the other opinions on Young stated in the book further, as it would be easy for such an expert and obvious enthusiast of the oeuvre to become hagiographical.  

A good collection of photos, a very well done chronology, and a list of characters and bibliography complete this good, scholarly work.

One lovely point: I have I believe met Mr Hall and he and his name seemed familiar.  When I looked at the acknowledgements, I see a thank you to Christine Penney and the staff of the University of Birmingham Special Collections.  Looking at the publication date, it would be logical for the research to have been done in the early 1990s – and I worked in Spec. Coll. 1992-1993!

Thanks for the loan Ali – I will look out for a copy for myself and I’m feeling better prepared for our FBY day in October now!