Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Now Reading ... Flappers by Judith Mackrell

Judith Mackrell’s Flappers is a terrific account of six fascinating women – Diana Cooper, Nancy Cunard, Tallulah Bankhead, Zelda Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker and Tamara de Lempicka – and the way they shaped, and were shaped by, the 1920s. A sample:
Samuel Hopkins Adams, in the foreword to his 1923 bestseller Flaming Youth, anatomized the flapper as ‘restless and seductive, greedy, discontented, unrestrained, a little morbid, more than a little selfish’. As she casually spent her money on a new powder compact or string of beads she also seemed shockingly a-political. She seemed oblivious of the battles that had so recently been fought on her behalf: the right to control her own wealth, to vote and to enter professions like the law. Even to wear the clothes of her choice. For decades, adherents of the British Rational Dress Society – or the Aesthetic Dress Reform movement in Europe – had been ridiculed as cranks. Yet as they correctly claimed, the freedom to wear comfortable clothes was almost as crucial a right as universal suffrage. No woman could claim effective equality with a man while her organs were being slowly crushed by whalebone corsets, and her movements impeded by bustles and petticoats that added over a stone to her body weight.
  For more, here’s Anna Carey’s review of Flappers for the Irish Times