‘One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time’ by Craig Brown is not a biography which claims to reveal vast amounts of new information or insight about the most famous rock band of all time. As with his 2017 biography of Princess Margaret, Ma’am Darling, Brown favours an anecdotal format, tackling the band’s history from John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s early childhoods in 1940s Liverpool to the band’s split in 1970 across 150 short chapters rather than a straightforward linear narrative.
Tag Archives: 1960s
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year, ‘4 3 2 1’ by Paul Auster consists of four different versions of the life of Archibald Issac Ferguson, born in Newark, New Jersey in 1947 (the same year as Auster). Descended from Russian-Jewish immigrants, Archie is the only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson and during his early childhood, random events change the path of his life splitting into four different trajectories – in one version his parents divorce, in another they stay together, in another Stanley dies, and so on. The parallel structure means that each of the seven parts is rewound three times before moving on to the next stage in Archie’s life covering his early childhood through to his coming-of-age in the late 1960s. Continue reading
Set in the mid-1960s, ‘Little Deaths’ by Emma Flint tells the story of Ruth Malone, a 26-year-old recently divorced single mother whose two young children Cindy and Frankie go missing from their home in Queens, New York. After they are both found dead in separate locations days later, it doesn’t take long for the police to suspect that Ruth had something to do with their disappearance. However, in the absence of any hard evidence, they draw their conclusions purely from what they consider to be her stylish appearance and unconventional behaviour following the murders. Meanwhile, local journalist Pete Wonicke becomes determined to prove Ruth’s innocence. Continue reading
‘The Muse’ by Jessie Burton tells the story of a young Trinidadian woman Odelle Bastien who lands a job as a typist at the prestigious Skelton art gallery in London in 1967, five years after she moved to the city. Odelle’s new boyfriend Lawrie has recently inherited a painting rumoured to be the work of Isaac Robles, a talented young Spanish artist who mysteriously disappeared during the Civil War in the 1930s. The painting causes quite a stir at the Skelton and Odelle’s enigmatic boss, Marjorie Quick, appears to have a personal interest in the painting as well as a professional one. Odelle sets out to uncover the true origins of the lost masterpiece whose secrets lie with the wealthy Anglo-Austrian Schloss family who employed Isaac’s sister Teresa as their housekeeper in Malaga at the beginning of the war. Continue reading
‘The Girls’ by Emma Cline has been one of the most eagerly anticipated debut novels of the year. Set in California in 1969, it is a semi-fictionalised account of a group of young women including fourteen-year-old Evie Boyd who fall under the spell of Russell Hadrick, a failed musician and Charles Manson-like cult leader. However, it is Evie’s awe towards Suzanne, one of Russell’s followers, which becomes the main focus of the story rather than her encounters with Russell himself. Continue reading
‘In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences’ by Truman Capote outlines the investigation into the murders of farmer Herb Clutter, his wife Bonnie and two of their teenage children at their home in Kansas in November 1959. After reading a short news article in the New York Times about the killings, Capote travelled to the small town of Holcomb with his friend, Harper Lee, where he undertook extensive research and interviewed hundreds of people who lived in the area or were involved in the case including the chief investigator, Alvin Dewey, and eventually the murderers themselves. Continue reading
What a book to start the year. I loved it. I was particularly intrigued by the original concept of the novel – travelling back in time to try and stop John F. Kennedy being assassinated in Dallas on 22nd November 1963 – and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I would go as far as saying ‘11.22.63’ was probably the most enjoyable and imaginative book I’ve read for a very very long time. Continue reading