MixedThe Spectator (UK)This autobiography has its high points, irrelevancies and irritations. Wilson’s exposure of the woefully Dickensian conditions of his prep school, described in another context as ‘a concentration camp run by sexual perverts’, is horrendous and timely ... The camp, Firbankian description is written by an accomplished humourist; the mischievous, observant wit is clear and critical ... What does not entertain is Wilson’s telling so much of his family history. There are longueurs when one wants to shout, ‘I don’t need to know that’, or ‘so what?’ – an experience similar to reading Hermione Lee’s 992- page biography of Tom Stoppard. Still more annoying is the constant mention of ‘the great (but not necessarily) the good’ people he knows, which comes across as name-dropping ... the question remains: why write an autobiography? Is it through strong residual self-regard? The reappraisal of his life, his failures and mistakes, is admirable. Will he need to pen another consideration in five or ten years’ time if still scribbling?
RaveThe Spectator (UK)William Boyd is one of our best contemporary storytellers ... Boyd’s imagery is entertainingly vivid ... Trio embraces comedy, tragedy and redemption. It succeeds impressively because of its dramatic, often sensational, revelations.
RaveThe Spectator[Szalay] is a clever craftsman ... he innovates in this ingenious new book ... Szalay has said that he is happiest writing the contemporary novel; the context of his preferred writing is ‘my world’. He knows about people: the closeted gay who is violent to his wife; the woman whose husband accepts her infidelity...and the mother whose ‘liberal bona fides’ are boosted by her daughter’s fiancé being a Syrian refugee. Stark and spare, Turbulence is an impressive novel.