Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oh Joy!

I know BB has decreed that we shouldn't be watching him any more, but I thought I'd pass on the latest news from the Bookseller, about Nick's forthcoming books:

The first book, Waiting for the Etonians: Reports from the Sickbed of Liberal England, will be published in February 2009. It will be a collection of Cohen's writing which Harvie said will "cover Labour's love affair with the right over the last 10 years". The second book, provisionally titled Traitors, will look at the state of Britain at the end of the first decade of a new century.

Now I do like books with titles that spare you the trouble of reading what's inside.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Decents watching is all fair and proper, but this early?

10/15/2008 05:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still don't understand the word 'Liberal'. It's only ever really referred to the Liberal parties over here. What's Left fell apart as soon as it started with that stupid declaration that he's allowed to conflate the Lib Dems with the SWP because 'all books make assumptions', or something. Looks like this will be no different - and I wonder if Nick's account of a 'left-wing love affair with the right' will cover his own work writing for things like Pajamas and Standpoint?

The resonance of J. M. Coetzee's brilliant novel Waiting for the Barbarians overhangs the first book too. Nick's will have to be a very, very good book to stand the implicit comparison...

10/15/2008 07:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Waiting for the Barbarians" is a poem by Cavafy, which Coetzee borrowed for his title, and which Nick is presumably punning on.
The point of the poem is that the real crisis is caused when the Barbarians fail to arrive -if the Cameronian- Etonians also don't make it, I guess Nick will be unhappy.(but the rest of us slightly relieved)

10/15/2008 08:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't know about Cavafy; thank you. The situation with the Barbarians is a bit different in the Coetzee novel; also I'm not sure how this waiting relates to the 'Liberal British sickbed' either. Surely in both poem and novel, the act of waiting is symptomatic of the opposite of physical weakness...

the more i think about this 'Liberal' thing the more it seems to be pitched squarely at the US market. What's Left at least called it the 'liberal-left'...

10/15/2008 08:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does our Nick really have that much of an American market to pitch at? Horowitz and co didn't seem to be aware that What's Left existed and Hitchens has a far more established presence across the pond.

Von Pseud

10/15/2008 09:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I first read that title, I thought, this must be parody ...

10/15/2008 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

'Waiting for the Etonians' is clearly a reference to Cameron and his Cabinet, and as such it's a clever enough ploy. Published in Feb next year, so the paperback will come out 6 months to a year later (why do they still do this?) pretty much in time for the election campaign, so it'll be on the tables in Waterstone's and Border's etc with all the other political fluff for book junkies to scoop up.

OTOH, surely the natural readership for essays slagging off Cameron won't be keen on the 'Sickbed of Liberal England' bit, and they'd likely be Observer readers and probably unsympathetic to his columns.

I wonder if there's a book in "After the Etonian of the North: notes from the sickbed of the no-longer liberal Scotland."

10/15/2008 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Unless of course the Etonians are followers of the cult of a Statesman writer who fought in the Spanish Civil War. In that case, I'll send the outline of "En Attendant Orwell: a two-act play in which two hacks discuss the making of tea, pig farming, bicycling old maids, and other pursuits while waiting in 'The Moon Under Water' for the hero of literature to arrive" to Fourth Estate. They seem to buy anything.

10/15/2008 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I assume the paperback comes out much later in order not to cannibalize sales of the hardback and justify its much more expensive price tag?

10/15/2008 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

As I've observed before, in What's Left? Nick is keen to tell us where Douglas Hurd and Perry Anderson went to school, while remaining silent about George Orwell's education.

10/15/2008 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

He could have Neal Ascherson as well.

10/15/2008 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

John McCain went to the Episcopal High School (Alexandria, Virginia). The comprehensive tuition fee for the 2007-08 school year was $38,200, in addition to the technology fee ($250), cost of books (about $600), and spending money. Student activities are included in the tuition, although there are some exceptions.
Each student is also required to purchase a laptop from a designated vendor before entering the school as part of the school’s laptop program. The computers are frequently used in the classroom.

So: not posh at all.

Clearly the great thing about Eton is the skill in dealing with people it gives its pupils. Craig Brown in true story mode:

A plumber recalls being called out to fix a burst pipe for the novelist Anthony Powell. The plumber rang the doorbell. "An elderly man opened the door and looked at me quizzically. 'Yes,' he said. 'How can I help you?'

'Hello,' I smiled, thinking that my overalls, the toolbox in my hand and my van behind me would make my quest obvious. 'Well?' he said.

'Mr Powell?' I asked. (I pronounced the name Pow-well.) 'There is no one here of that name,' he intoned."

The plumber apologises and drives off, imagining that he has come to the wrong house. After driving around in the snow for 20 minutes, he is directed back to the same house. The same man opened the door. "This time I tried a different tack. 'Does a Mr Powell live here?' 'No,' he said. 'However, do you mean Pole?' I nodded. 'Ah! Then go round to the back door, the leak is in the kitchen.'?"

10/15/2008 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Yeah, but I'd probably* do that, and I went to a comp.

[* well, conceivably. Not in the snow, perhaps.]

10/15/2008 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger AndyB said...

Why, how do you pronounce your surname in a strange, posh way?


10/17/2008 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Ah, it's not the surname, it's that I have a varying first name.

10/17/2008 07:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah. I was visualising a kind of literary sitcom, with you still in Spain but Joe Orton living next door... "no, I insist on delivering this parcel to Señor 'Orton!"... Only in Spanish, obviously. It'd be great.

10/17/2008 07:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The second book, provisionally titled Traitors...

Presumably None Dare Call It Treason wasn't snappy enough.

10/17/2008 03:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely a more apt title would be 'Waiting for the Sobriety: Notes From the Sickbed of Nick Cohen'?

10/17/2008 11:16:00 PM  

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