Five Rivers Met On A Wooded Plain by Barney Norris

‘Only connect…’ Those two words are the point from which all flows in E.M. Forster’s masterly Howard’s End but they apply equally to Five Rivers Met On A Wooded Plain, the first novel by an annoyingly talented pup and playwright called Barney Norris. Set (rather refreshingly, way away from the usual boundaries of literary land)…

Ammonites & Leaping Fish by Penelope Lively

Subtitled ‘A Life in Time’, Penelope Lively’s Ammonites & Leaping Fish was published in 2013, when she was 80. She looks back on what she has done and seen over the decades, from her earliest days in wartime Alexandria to her old age in Islington, examining personal experiences (motherhood, friendships) and wider trends and events…

Why The Dutch Are Different by Ben Coates

When Englishman Ben Coates moved to Holland* he began making a list of ‘Crazy Dutch Liberal Policies’. He soon gave up because there were just too many of them to count: ready availability of cannabis and euthanasia, prostitutes given sick pay, moped riders without helmets, lots of nudist beaches, and so on…Why The Dutch Are…