Fantasy Island...a must read?
Also in today's blog : Hesperus Press
Constable Robinson and Sir Walter Scott
It will be interesting to see if Fantasy Island by Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson [Constable Robinson £7.99], about which Jeff Randall wrote
in the Business supplement with yesterday's Daily Telegraph, will soar to the top of the bestseller lists.
After reading Randall's column about it, had I been in a bookshop yesterday, and seen the book, I should have been tempted to buy it.
Randall [see photo] writes : "Read this book and weep. In a week when three London town halls rejected official immigration figures for grossly underestimating the real numbers, Fantasy Island sets out in exquisite detail the lies, damned lies and statisical legerdemain that define Labour in office."
"So, who's behind this excoriating work?" Randall asks.
The surprising answer is Larry Elliott, economics editor of The Guardian, and his joint author is Dan Atkinson, a former Guardian journalist who works now for the Mail on Sunday.
Randall continues : "Their theme, which I crudely summarise, is that on just about all issues of importance to ordinary folk – personal finances, health, education, immigration, unemployment and defence – the season is about to change: from Blair's illusory everlasting summer to a cold, dark winter."
At the Constable Robinson website, we're told, "In December 1999 Constable & Co Ltd and Robinson Publishing Ltd combined their individual shareholdings into a single company, Constable & Robinson Ltd.
Constable & Co founded in 1890 by Archibald Constable, grandson of Walter Scott's publisher. Robinson Publishing Ltd founded in 1983 by Nick Robinson.
We publish primarily in the following areas: biography and autobiography, current affairs and world politics, general and military history, health and psychology, travel and endurance, landscape photography, crime fiction and literary fiction."
You can read about Sir Walter Scott's publisher here
Extract : "Constable made a new departure in publishing by the generosity of his terms to authors. Writers for the Edinburgh Review were paid at an unprecedented rate, and Constable offered Scott 1000 guineas in advance for Marmion."
Whether Constable Robinson are equally generous with their authors, who knows?
I spent an enjoyable hour reading two catalogues [Spring 2007 and Autumn 2007] from Hesperus Press.
As I may have mentioned before, it was reading Rudyard Kipling [see photo] as a child that convinced me that newspaper journalism was the best training for a would-be writer.
Now there's a note in my diary that, in August, Hesperus will be publishing Kipling's Something of Myself in their Modern Voices series. This autobiographical sketch was the last work Kipling [1865-1936] wrote.
Hesperus also have a presence at
MySpace where I read "Hesperus Press, as suggested by the Latin motto 'Et Remotissima Prope', is committed to bringing near what is far - far both in space and time. Works written by the greatest authors, and unjustly neglected or simply little known in the English-speaking world, are made accessible through new translations and a completely fresh editorial approach. Through these classic works, the reader is introduced to the greatest writers from all times and cultures."
Unfortunately this, and the rest of their MySpace text, was in white text on a pale blue background, so I had to "select" it to read it easily. I hope they will change to black on white. It may not look as artistic but it's a lot less off-putting to site visitors.
There are other tempting titles in the Hesperus catalogues which I hope to write about in future blogs.