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Monday, September 14, 2009

In praise of Philip Hoare's "Leviathan"

Yesterday afternoon my family were either at rock festivals or in bed sleeping off colds or hangovers and so I repaired to the sofa, covered my knees with a blanket to ward off the sudden chill and read the second half of Philip Hoare's "Leviathan". I'm not really a nature boy so the fact that I was so captivated by a book about whales should be worth some of the usual asterisk-studded superlatives. One of the things that makes the "creative non-fiction" category so seductive for writers is the way it allows them to stretch out in many different dimensions - history, literature, philosophy, science and others - simultaneously but I don't know any who've managed to do it in such a triumphantly non-boring way as Hoare. I can't recommend it too highly.