Books: Reviews

Article excerpt

Byline: Sarah Dale

JOHN Gritten, 93, lives in London with his wife, Anda, a concert pianist. He has five sons, 11 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren with another grandchild and great-grandchild on the way. He is the author of Howard and Son: Rebels of a Kind.

[bar] What was your favourite childhood book? A made-readable Robinson Crusoe. [bar] What are you currently reading? Re-reading after 57 years Lawrence Durrell's Bitter Lemons about getting a house built for himself on a mountainside in Cyprus by local villagers. Made me want to go there - and now more than ever. [bar] Who is your favourite author? My favourites are ephemeral - one lasts just until I fall for another. I see from looking at one of my bookshelves I've read at least six H E Bates' novels which split my sides laughing.

[bar] What character from a book would you most like to be and why? A vision of Sydney Carton before he is guillotined in Dickens's Tale of Two Cities instantly flashed on my mind's eye. Because of the nobility of someone who sacrifices his life for another. It immediately led to thinking - not very logically perhaps - of a Resistance fighter captured by the Nazis who jumped to his death rather than betray his comrades under torture.

[bar] What character from a book describes you best? That's a bit like asking what do I see in the mirror, so a true if narcissistic answer is: the son part in the title of my latest book and the No. 1 in Full Circle, Log of the Navy's No. 1 Conscript, my wartime memoirs. I'll have to think about my 'character' in my yet unwritten book, about me from age 24 onwards.

HOWARD AND SON: Rebels of a Kind by John Gritten (Matador, pounds 12.99) THIS book is more than a biography of Howard Gritten, the Tory MP for the Hartlepools from 1918 to 1923 and then re-elected in 1929 until his death in 1943 aged 73.

Written by his son, John, this book is a revealing biography of his father and an intriguing family history packed with political and social observations. …