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Our Town

In response to:

Total Recall from the August 24, 1967 issue

To the Editors:

About the review of my novel Goodbye, by Mr. Bergonzi [NYR, August 24], may I say that I was born in Dulwich, lived until twelve in Streatham, passed an adolescent stretch in the stockbrokers’ belt-outer suburb. Then sixteen years in the Swiss Cottage (London N.W. 3) district. After, and until now, until Mr. Bergonzi frightens me into some sort of extra-being, I have lived* in N.W. 8. Who is wrong? I mean sensuously? Or even otherwise?

William Sansom

London

Bernard Bergonzi replies:

If I described Mr. Sansom’s treatment of the London suburban scene (which I also know very well, though mostly the scruffier south-eastern sections) as an “ideal realm, singularly remote from any actual London,” I didn’t want to imply any lack of thorough acquaintance on his part, merely that his literary treatment does give the suburbs a strangely changed and remote quality. Since Mr. Sansom presumably aims at being something more than a low photographic realist, he ought to regard my remark as a kind of compliment.

  1. *

    Broke for years; also, later, the opposite.

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