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Cheerful weather for the wedding

Ann Schlee, 20 August 1981

... The wedding is over. Everything went very well. The image on the television screen looked just as we would have it look. In a year when the wedding guest’s vague fear that something might go wrong had taken on new dimensions, nothing splintered that image. Now we have taken a tentative step into day one of Ever After and look back at this generous distraction, like Philip Larkin’s Whitsun wedding guests: free at last and loaded with the sum of all we have seen ...

Why Walk?

Ann Schlee, 16 February 1984

Eight Feet in the Andes 
by Dervla Murphy.
Murray, 274 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 7195 4083 6
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West African Passage: A Journey through Nigeria, Chad and the Cameroons 
by Margery Perham, edited by A.H.M. Kirk-Greene.
Peter Owen, 245 pp., £12, September 1983, 0 7206 0609 8
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India File 
by Trevor Fishlock.
Murray, 189 pp., £9.95, September 1983, 0 7195 4072 0
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Castaway: A Story of Survival 
by Lucy Irvine.
Gollancz, 287 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 575 03340 1
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In Search of the Sahara 
by Quentin Crewe.
Joseph, 261 pp., £12.95, October 1983, 0 7181 2348 4
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... Why did you walk from Cajamara?’ Dervla Murphy is asked towards the end of Eight Feet in the Andes. ‘It is a long way and the roads are bad. It is possible to fly from Cajamara ... to Cuzco. It is not necessary to walk.’ The speaker has hit upon a truth about modern travellers. They are not tracing a route from the known to the unknown ...

A World of Waste

Philip Horne, 1 September 1983

The Proprietor 
by Ann Schlee.
Macmillan, 300 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 333 35111 8
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Slouching towards Kalamazoo 
by Peter De Vries.
Gollancz, 241 pp., £7.95, August 1983, 0 575 03306 1
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Marcovaldo 
by Italo Calvino, translated by William Weaver.
Secker, 121 pp., £7.95, August 1983, 0 436 08272 1
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The Loser 
by George Konard, translated by Ivan Sanders.
Allen Lane, 315 pp., £8.95, August 1983, 0 7139 1599 4
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... The freedom of the imagination is not necessarily greatest in imagining freedom: or rather, as in Ann Schlee’s novel and George Konrad’s, it is where social and psychological pressures are most intense that we get from art our purest expressions of freedom. In 1981 Ann Schlee published her first adult ...

Yak Sandwiches

Christopher Burns, 31 March 1988

Pleasure 
by John Murray.
Aidan Ellis, 233 pp., £10.50, October 1987, 0 85628 167 0
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Absurd Courage 
by Nobuko Albery.
Century, 254 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 7126 1149 5
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Laing 
by Ann Schlee.
Macmillan, 302 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 333 45633 5
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The Part of Fortune 
by Laurel Goldman.
Faber, 249 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 571 14921 9
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In the Fertile Land 
by Gabriel Josipovici.
Carcanet, 212 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 85635 716 2
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... something wittier and far more substantial is struggling to free itself from the present text. Ann Schlee’s third novel begins in 1825. Its protagonist, Captain Alexander Laing, is part of the scramble for Africa. He arrives in Tripoli intent on being the first European to cross the Sahara, enter Timbuctoo and explore the Niger. The novel ...

Fatalism

Graham Hough, 16 July 1981

A Start in Life 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 176 pp., £5.95, May 1981, 9780224018999
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Rhine Journey 
by Ann Schlee.
Macmillan, 165 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 333 28320 1
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The Sure Salvation 
by John Hearne.
Faber, 224 pp., £6.50, May 1981, 0 571 11670 1
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Beloved Latitudes 
by David Pownall.
Gollancz, 140 pp., £6.95, May 1981, 0 575 02988 9
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... have been respectively drowned, decapitated and disembowelled, and the hero is about to be hanged. Ann Schlee’s story ends with her heroine renouncing a fantasy and going to live in a cottage by herself, having made a small but definite act of defiance against a spiritually tyrannical brother. Anita Brookner’s heroine ends as she began, writing a ...

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