Sorry about the delay in bringing you my views on Ken Livingstone’s new book – it really is very hard work. Anyway, here’s how the review in today’s paper starts:
All four walls of the young Ken Livingstone’s bedroom were, he writes, “lined with three tiers of aquariums and vivariums”. The heated reptile tanks “turned the room subtropical”, with “rich smells wafting through the house”, including the “overpowering stench of alligator poo… Mum would arrive home to be greeted by a huge cloud of bluebottles orbiting the lightbulb”.
This great slab of a book is rather like that bedroom. For 700 gruelling pages, we are trapped in Ken’s political vivarium, breathing the smells, fighting off the circling bluebottles, reliving a lifetime’s struggles for vital centimetres of tank space.
At times, the ecosystem seems much like our own. But then comes the sex, and we realise that we are dealing with a species far stranger than we knew…
Read the rest here.
PS: The Spectator didn’t like it much either.