After the most amazing, unprecedented, extraordinary (supply your own hyperbole here) day that Parliament has ever known in the whole history of the world, the upshot is that everything has … well, remained pretty much the same, really. Britain is still leaving the EU (probably). It will still avoid a ‘no deal’ exit (probably). It will therefore still need a withdrawal agreement with the EU, and in due course Parliament will agree one (probably). No change there, then.   Continue reading

Look back on anger

On Saturday 2 April 2016, two things happened. Well, of course, a million things happened, but these two were connected, and they affected me. One was that Ian McEwan’s comments on sexual identity at the Royal Institution were denounced in the Press by anyone with a megaphone to hand. The second, somewhat bathetic by comparison, was that my tweet on a related matter caused about 10% of my Twitter following to desert me (@JimPowellAuthor).   Continue reading

Falling in and out of Europe

It is nearly a year since I decided to divorce The Times after decades of fidelity and embark upon a reckless fling with The Guardian. It hasn’t turned out to be as ecstatic as I had expected. Yes, there is more serious news and comment, but it comes at a price. The price is a relentless pessimism and negativity that infects the entire newspaper. Britain and the world, as presented by The Guardian, constitute a living hell. To anyone contemplating a similar migration, may I suggest that a prescription for Prozac should accompany your subscription.   Continue reading

Dancing around Anthony Powell

A Dance to the Music of Time is, alternatively, a masterpiece (to be ranked, according to Tariq Ali of all people, alongside the works of Stendahl, Balzac and Proust) or an inconsequential snob’s chronicle. It is a Marmite of a novel sequence. Powell himself (no relation) divided his readers into ‘fans’ and ‘shits’, which seems rather extreme. It also leaves readers, like myself, who admire some of the 12 novels but not others, in undefined limbo. I would call myself a ‘fant’ – more fan than shit.   Continue reading

Things We Nearly Knew

Next Thursday, 11 January, my third novel is published by Picador: Things We Nearly Knew. It is nothing like my first novel, The Breaking of Eggs (2010, Weidenfeld & Nicolson UK/Penguin US) and nothing like my second novel, Trading Futures (2016, Picador) One day, I may get to the point where I have to repeat myself. But I’m not there yet, and hope never to be. So Nearly New, as we like to call it, is in fact entirely new. This is the story of how it was conceived and written.   Continue reading

What not to write*

‘And as I sat there brooding on the world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could not fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that obscurity beyond the city, where the fields of the republic rolled on under the night.   [read more]

David Aaronovitch meets Feliks Zhukovski

The Breaking of Eggs was a complicated attempt to answer a simple question: why do we believe what we believe? When, at a February meeting of the Prospect Book Club, I heard David Aaronovitch use exactly the same phrase to describe the issue he was addressing in his new book Party Animals, I was intrigued. In fact, I was already intrigued, which is why I was there.   [read more]