Private: Chalmers, Carroll, and more

In the NY Times Sunday Book Review, Sam Sifton puts in a good word for Robert Chalmers’ Who’s Who in Hell, “a coming-of-age story set in a post-Thatcherite world, amid darkness and mirth combined.”

Hornby fans, take note; Sifton says:

Nick Hornby mines much the same vein of hipster melodrama in his own novels, and while Chalmers doesn’t quite exhibit the same heartfelt grace, he is of the same angry, hopeful type. A post-punk romantic aesthetic comes through in both authors’ work: Chalmers plays Graham Parker to Hornby’s Nick Lowe.

AS Byatt writes in today’s Guardian that Lewis Carroll, with his Alice books, “invented the least sentimental, most real, child character in children’s literature.” According to Byatt, one thing that makes Alice’s world so successful “is the almost complete absence of any object of love, attachment or fear from Alice’s connections.”

Also, I just read my favorite Ginny Wray story so far: her latest, The Kool King.

Here’s how the story starts:

Kory made my mother promise to keep their marriage a secret, and she agreed. They almost kept it a secret from me, but I caught them in the act, so to speak. On my way home from school one day, I met Mother and a man I’d never seen before walking out the door of our apartment with suitcases in their hands. “Hi, Mom,” I said. “Where are you going?” “On our honeymoon,” she said.

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