Started Early Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson read by Graeme Malcolm

Jackson slugs a bully and saves a small dog. Hence Jackson, ex military man, ex husband (twice), having been familiar with violence his whole life has now finally found a good use for it. Now on the other side of the law, but otherwise non-localizable: “when he stayed at a hotel, he knew who he was. A guest.”

Tracy is big, post-menopausal, plain, and so indistinct that qualifiers float over the surface of her identity, like flat swabs of paint on a blank canvas.

At school Tracy had always been wary of the domestic science crowd – methodical girls with neat handwriting and neither flaws nor eccentricities. For some reason they were usually good at netball as well, as if the gene that enabled them to jump for the hoop contained the information necessary for turning out a cheese-and-onion flan or creaming a Victoria sponge-sandwich mix.

After she pays $3000 for a small child being dragged around by a street-mother, Tracy buys the kid cotton clothes and uses thought to re-organize her life from the point of view of a small girl.

Two characters in an England out of time, make a decision that makes no sense, and thereby changes the sense of life and everything in it. Two characters that grip us by the throat, and leave us breathless, waiting for the real inside the fiction.


I am reading three books, disrespectfully, carelessly, unthinkingly.

After finishing The Girl Who Kicked A Hornet’s Nest I decided that there was nothing more to read. Nothing else to read. Nothing to satisfy the specific hunger for more Girl. Nothing to rejoin the amorous journalist and the girl. What a pity. Out of all those beautiful, lithe, mythically wise women the journalist ends up with a weight lifter. Disappointing. Like all men, really.

Maybe it wasn’t really Larsson who wrote the whole thing. Maybe it was his girlfriend. Which would explain why the rest of the world is reading “Men Who Hate Women” and Americans, fat, hypocritical and prudish are reading about hornet’s nests. But now we have run out of hornets nests. What remains?

Something named “The Assassins of Athens” which rhymes, ridiculously. We stopped after three rich schoolboys bragged to a homicide inspector about the routine they routinely used to pick upgirls at bars which they were not old enough to drink in…..

The second begins with a Jewish wedding and progresses intellectually to a classic old fashioned domination of a good Jewish girl from Scarsdale by a cold English cad. She loves it. Then the plot turns limp and the Englishmen confesses his impotence, and the book dooms itself to the whining chic lit bin.

The Lost Army of Cambysus by Paul Sussman read by Gordon Griffin

An English schoolboy’s happy meal: a murder, a bit of Herodotus, a little masochism, a little colonialism, a shovelful of archaeology, a box of cheroots, a little petit bourgeois pettiness, a pretty but not too pretty girl who works with animals, a plain, uxurious police inspector, and a healthy dollop of fetishism in the form of text, genealogically charged artifacts, and dead soldiers: “an army of old men rising wearily from the sands….”

Quite wonderful. A mouthful. Lux.

Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crumb. Narrated by Christopher Kay.

Wed Sep 15, 2004
Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crumb. Narrated by Christopher Kay.

Clipper Audio. c2001. Bland, unexciting, English pudding: a boy-inspector, his prissy girl partner, a murder and a family. The plot is overboiled, the storytelling unremarkable. But there are some fascinating droplets toward the end: the respectable chief inspector, wiley, well heeled, unflappable is charmed (?and fucked) by a pretty girl-suspect. The pissy little sargeant likewise attaches to a beautiful blonde suspect: and in a typically [menstruated] bureaucratic sublimation moves from panic to anger to resentment in 5 seconds…. “Having seen that Tommy had not stuck his head in the oven, she felt irrationally anger at him for making her worry….”
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