Saturday, 27 March 2010

More Christopher Fowler

There was an interesting debate recently on Stuck-in-a-book about the reasons people read authors' biographies. Like Simon, if I find a writer whom I really like, I tend to read everything by them that I can lay my hands on, and then finish with their biography. I was therefore very interested to hear that Christopher Fowler, whom I have praised previously on this site, had written an auto-biography of his early life, and grateful to Watson Little for sending me a review copy.

Though Fowler is older than me, we seem to have shared similar backgrounds, haunting the local library, storing away unusual words, and reading books that were supposed to be far beyond our years. I can well remember for example, reading War and Peace at the age of 12 one long, wet Easter weekend.

Paperboy is a joy to read, not only because it tells such a wonderfully evocative story of growing up in a London suburb all those years ago, but also for its wry humour. I loved, for example, the pseudo-academic footnotes such as the explanation of jam roly-poly as "a heavy suet dessert designed to slow husbands down and stop them wanting sex".

I would really recommend this book, though I think you will enjoy it all the more if you read a few of Fowler's books first. As to which, there is good news. Like many readers, I was aghast when Fowler seemed to have killed off his Bryant and May series, but thankfully there is a seventh now available, Bryant and May on the loose, which I have just read. Even more good news, in that the ending strongly suggests that there are yet more to come. I do hope so.

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