David Lodge is a novelist and critic and Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Birmingham, England. His novels include Changing Places, Small World, Nice Work, and A Man of Parts. His most recent works of criticism are Consciousness and the Novel and The Year of Henry James.

IN THE REVIEW

Behind the Smoke Screen

The Life of Graham Greene, Volume II, 1939-1955

by Norman Sherry

Graham Greene: The Man Within

by Michael Shelden
If Graham Greene had never published any novels he would surely be remembered as one of our century’s finest book reviewers, film critics, and occasional essayists. In 1953 he wrote a characteristically shrewd and witty review (originally published in The New Statesman and reprinted in Reflections) of the first volume …

The Heart of the Obsession

The Man Within My Head

by Pico Iyer
The book begins: I was standing by the window in the Plaza Hotel, looking out. Below—ten stories below—I could make out round-faced women in ponchos standing on the sidewalk of the city named for peace and renting out cellphones to passersby. At their sides, sisters (or could it be daughters?) …

The Prime of Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark, 1965

Muriel Spark: The Biography

by Martin Stannard
Muriel Spark published twenty-two novels in her lifetime, in spite of beginning relatively late at the age of thirty-nine, and at least half of them are classics by the only criterion that really matters—they invite and reward repeated reading. She was the most original and innovative British novelist writing in …

The Subtle Touch

County Clare, Ireland, 1954; photograph by Dorothea Lange

Love and Summer

by William Trevor
Novelists seldom retire willingly. Usually it is forced upon them by a dearth of ideas or rejection by publishers, depressing experiences when one’s sense of identity and self-esteem, not to mention income, is intimately involved with the continuing production of new books. But those who manage to go on writing …

‘The End of Heaven’

Day

by A.L. Kennedy
When I first heard that A.L. Kennedy’s new novel was about a tailgunner in an RAF Lancaster bomber in World War II, I was frankly astonished. Nothing in this writer’s previous work or life, as far as I was acquainted with them, apart from the fact that she writes quite …

‘Bad Behavior’ & Kingsley Amis

The Life of Kingsley Amis

by Zachary Leader
This book runs to nearly a thousand pages, including 116 pages of notes (many of them substantial). Does its subject deserve this enormous biographical effort and corresponding demand on the reader’s time? Whether you immediately answer “Yes” or need to be convinced will depend very much on your age and …

History Boy

Untold Stories

by Alan Bennett
This collection of autobiographical essays, family memoirs, diary extracts, and other occasional writings was published in England in October 2005 to warm and widespread applause in the press, and by the end of February 2006 had sold well over 300,000 copies in hardback. That remarkable figure was achieved partly with …