In the couple of weeks while I’ve been escaping the desk, several more reviews have appeared of Mud and Stars (Jonathan Cape), in which Sara Wheeler travels through Russia with the writers of the Golden Age. Julian Evans, in The Daily Telegraph, concludes that Wheeler’s “modest, ungrand tour… is far more of an epic than it at first appears”. Alexander Larman, in a brief notice in The Observer, says that Wheeler’s “fascinating” book offers an important corrective to the image many Westerners have of Russia, and that its author is “as enthusiastic and authoritative a guide as one could wish for”. I’ve also just seen a review by Malika Browne, published in The Times in June, who says the book is “a well-researched, droll journey”.
Francis Pryor’s The Fens (Head of Zeus), which was recently Book of the Week on Radio 4, has been reviewed by Hugh Thomson for The Spectator. Pryor, he says, “has spent most of his professional life working in the Fens and this book is a distillation of everything he has learned… His enthusiasm is infectious, whether he’s glimpsing Ely cathedral from a train, coming across John Clare’s grave or counting the bricks of Tattershall Castle.”