Saturday, June 23, 2007


David Kynaston had a fascinating piece in last week's Sunday Times on how he came to write stealth best-seller Austerity Britain. I have got to read this book, it sounds quite amazing! And it turns out it's just the first installment in a sort of Powell-inspired roman fleuve:

I kept a part of my brain reserved for postwar Britain, continuing through the 1990s to think about it and collect material, especially obituaries, in what was becoming a golden age for that genre. By summer 2002, the week after Beckham’s penalty against Argentina, I was at last ready to go. I now envisaged the project as owing something to two types of artistic inspiration: the thickly textured panorama of a 19th-century “loose, baggy monster” realist novel, with perhaps a dash of Frith’s Derby Day painting; and the roman-fleuve of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time novels. I wanted to write a rolling narrative in which “high” history jostles with “low”, in which significant events and themes are viewed as much as possible through the prism of the individual witness or participant.

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