Book review: ‘Aftermath’ by Ronald Blythe

Selected writings, 1960–2010.

‘Aftermath’ by Ronald Blythe

Aftermath is a hefty anthology from a venerable country writer. It comprises mainly book reviews and selections from Blythe’s earlier works. I’m a big fan of such collections of ‘occasional writing’. This collection is excellent.

I particularly enjoyed the lengthy section at the start of this book dedicated to the joys of reading other people's published letters, diaries, and journals.

Blythe has a wonderful knack for perceptive, often humorous, observations:

  • It is clear that letter-writing proper creates style and destroys inhibition;
  • There is an acute species of melancholy attached to the early days of authorship which is often lightly dismissed by biographers as teething pains;
  • The wholesale destruction [of the mining industry] by Mrs Thatcher and her successors, albeit for the sake of the economy, that sacred excuse, leaves an unpleasant taste;
  • from nine onwards Henry Beaufort could not allow a fox to live.

…That sort of thing.

Great stuff.


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