From Essex serpents to chimpanzees – political satire to the best new thrillers … leading writers reveal which books they will be taking to the beach.
I recently reread Anita Brookner’s first novel A Start in Life (Penguin) and it left me thinking that maybe all novelists should be forbidden from publishing until they are 53; that way they would already have a finished style and a mature cogent individual view of the world.
This nearly faultless novel also reflects on the competing truthfulness of Balzac versus Dickens.
(Balzac died at 51 so the Brookner rule can’t apply to him.)
But for the moment I am engrossed in Svetlana Alexievich’s extraordinary Second-Hand Time (Fitzcarraldo) – an oral tapestry of post-Soviet Russia.