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Bookworm - Ian, Martin, Will and other darlings


Author David Mitchell pictured in Clonakilty, west Cork

Author David Mitchell pictured in Clonakilty, west Cork

Author David Mitchell pictured in Clonakilty, west Cork

Last weekend, the Daily Telegraph devoted the cover of its review section and 10 whole pages inside to what it called the eight "landmark novels of the new season" - all of them by the currently fashionable darlings of English fiction, with regard to whom a few heretics among us continue to remain unimpressed.

I certainly won't be rushing to read Will Self's Shark, the second novel of a trilogy that began with Umbrella. "Daringly experimental" was the admiring verdict on that book, though "unreadably pretentious" was my own.

Nor will I be immersing myself in David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks, having had my fill of multiple storylines in various time zones with Cloud Atlas (critic James Wood, reviewing the latest novel in the New Yorker, confesses to a similar weariness).

I'm similarly unmoved by the claims reverently made across the water on behalf of Ian McEwan and Martin Amis, though I'm told that the latter was provocatively lively when interviewed by Sean Rocks in Dún Laoghaire's Pavilion Theatre last week.

That public interview was a prelude to this year's Mountains to Sea book festival, which runs in the borough for four days from next Thursday, and indeed if you think I'm all wrong about the Cork-based Mitchell, both he and Irish novelist John Boyne are being interviewed in the Pavilion next Friday evening.

Personally, though, I'd opt for the Saturday evening session with journalist Lynn Barber - if only for the tittle-tattle she might reveal about some of her famous interviewees, Rafael Nadal and Jimmy Savile being among those she found least endearing.

And I'd expect good value, too, from crime writer Declan Hughes's chat with Lee Child on Sunday afternoon.

For more details about the festival, go to www.mountainstosea.ie

Indo Review