Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Burgess' Verve and Delight in Language ; BOOKS

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Burgess' Verve and Delight in Language ; BOOKS

Article excerpt

Napoleon Symphony by Anthony Burgess (Serpent's Tail, priced Pounds 12.99) BEST known for A Clockwork Orange, Manchesterborn Anthony Burgess wrote dozens of other books and was also a composer.

In this reprinted 1974 novel, he combines both strains of his work, attempting to fit a picaresque portrait of the eponymous Corsican tyrant to the structure of Beethoven's Eroica.

Beethoven's His own afterword (one of several sections in rather wearing verse) freely admits that he has not been wholly successful.

verse) freely admits that he has not been Mostly, though, the sheer verve and delight in language, which was always Burgess's special gift, carries him through.

The speeches are sometimes too self-aware, the variations in style rushed, but Napoleon Symphony never claimed to be a realistic historical novel.

One learns something here of how Bonaparte's rise and fall must have felt, to his contemporaries and perhaps to the despot himself; mainly, though, one relishes Burgess's delight in his game. Alex Sarll Havisham by Ronald Frame (Faber and Faber, priced Pounds 16.99) FANS of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations will find Ronald Frame's novel a mustread.

It tells the story of Catherine Havisham's privileged upbringing, from her birth to the events that led her to become one of literature's most famous spinsters.

led her to become one of During her early home life, she lives with constant reminders of her family's business, and the good name the Havisham brewery has gained. But it is when she is sent by her father to stay with the Chadwycks that she really discovers life's riches. Has this fresh awakening come too late? And how will the arrival of love in her life toy with her heart and threaten the very name - Havisham? Frame masterfully unlocks the story of one of Dickens's most famous characters. Philip Robinson The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen (Stockholm Text, priced Pounds 12. …

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