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Pascoe Publishing

Collections of a writer’s pieces of journalism are usually not well reviewed. The critic is often a journalist whose pieces have not been collected and there is something about the thought of a colleague’s being paid twice that rankles. If the pieces under review are travelogues and and adventures of an enjoyable kind, then the critical appetite for blood will be doubly whetted. The thought of a colleague’s being paid twice for doing what was enjoyable in the first place will sour the critic’s aspect to the extent that his review will be an example of someone’s being paid once for doing something they didn’t enjoy – an experience that some journalists will have you believe is a universal one. (Of course, when their turn comes and a book of their critical pieces is published they go around the place becoming abashedly like a pregnant ex-nun.)

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I must declare an interest. Dickins was once a student of mine and is still a friend. Readers of this review are invited to exercise their reservations.

I believe The Crookes of Epping is in the tragi-comic tradition of Charlie Chaplin which reaches back to one of the world’s greatest books, Don Quixote. In it pathos is as important an element as humour, wit and absurdity. It also has a connection with the earliest Greek Comedy in which the celebration of the God Dionysus was an important element.

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