Category Archives: Fiction

Ford Madox Ford

Ford Madox FordOn Campden Hill Road in between Observatory Gardens and Tor Gardens is an elegant semi-detached house displaying a blue plaque to novelist and critic Ford Madox Ford. The plaque was put up in 1973 not by English Heritage but by the Greater London Council – ah, those halcyon days! Continue reading

James Joyce

James JoyceOne down from Gloucester Walk is Campden Grove, W8, where an English Heritage blue plaque records that James Joyce lived there in 1931.

It seems he and Nora Barnacle were only there from May until September 1931. During this time he worked on the final draft of Finnegans Wake. He didn’t like the flat though, and thought Campden Grove should be renamed ‘Campden Grave’ as it was so full of mummies. He presumably meant Egyptian-type mummies rather than yummy mummies. Continue reading

La Belle Sauvage

La Belle SauvageI’ve just started Philip Pullman’s La Belle Sauvage, the first volume in his new trilogy The Book of Dust, set in the parallel worlds Pullman first explored in His Dark Materials.

La Belle Sauvage itself is a prequel to His Dark Materials, whereas the second volume, The Secret Commonwealth – to be published later this year (please!) – will apparently be a sequel to His Dark Materials.

I am only two chapters into La Belle Sauvage but it is like meeting up again with an old friend.

© Chris Lawrence 2019.

Northern Lights

Northern LightsAlmost unbelievable but I have only just got round to reading Philip Pullman‘s Northern Lights. It’s been on my to-read list for decades, even though I fell asleep watching The Golden Compass, the 2007 film version starring Nicole Kidman.

I know comparisons are supposed to be odious, but an obvious reference point is Harry Potter. I have only tried Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which I found profoundly underwhelming, as I did the 2001 film of the same name. This detracts nothing from the impressive impact JK Rowling has had on children’s reading. But I wouldn’t want to read any more myself.

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