Monday, 24 March 2014

Books

The Confessions Of A Society PhotographerThe Confessions Of A Society Photographer by Allan Warren
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

An "self portrait" so sketchy that it barely qualifies for the title. Maybe it's better described as a memoir than an autobiography. What we get is interesting but superficial, lacking in detail and background. We hear something of what (and, occasionally, who) Mr Warren did, but he is so reticent that the book comes over as little more than a "tease". It's not so much the lack of "gossip" as the fact that there isn't much in its place.

I first read this on borrowing it from the library in the 1970s, when it was originally published. Re-reading it this year when I got hold of a secondhand copy, my overwhelming impression was lack of substance - particularly after reading some in-depth biographies of more illustrious people in the media. The illustrations are nice, but I wanted more detail and a bit more depth - more of what Allan Warren himself is about.

The LieThe Lie by Helen Dunmore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An intriguing novel with a poetic quality. Its extensive use of flashbacks and sometimes harrowing detail of life in the trenches (and its aftermath) means it's not an easy read, or a particularly pleasant one. However, it is convincing throughout and sometimes genuinely moving. Recommended for readers who like to be challenged and provoked, rather than people looking for a "light read".

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