‘A large sapphire in the lapel of a bold striped suit, a vivid silk tie so bright that it dazzles . . . and on his fingers a collection of jewels: rubies, emeralds, diamonds . . .’ This is the man Jennie Erdal calls ‘Tiger’, the flamboyant figure at the centre of Ghosting, the strange and gripping story of the twenty years in which she became his ghost writer, pulling the wool over the eyes of reviewers and turning him into the literary lion he had always wanted to be.
Greetings from No. 53 where we’ve been busy with subscriptions, renewals and book orders thanks to those of you who’ve been adding to your reading lists for 2022. Another recommendation for your to-be-read pile comes courtesy of Slightly Foxed editor Hazel, who wrote the preface to our edition of Jennie Erdal’s wickedly funny memoir, Ghosting.
In the spirit of Plato’s Symposium, the Slightly Foxed team enter into lively dialogue with Tom Hodgkinson of the Idler and Harry Mount of the Oldie, and learn lessons from notable loafers in literature. We begin with Doctor Johnson, an icon of indolence who wrote an essay called ‘The Idler’ and liked time to ponder; this lazy lexicographer claimed his dictionary would take three years to write when in fact it would take nine . . .
We enjoy a leisurely spell with loungers in fiction, visiting Lady Bertram and her pug in Mansfield Park, taking to Lady Diana Cooper’s bed in A Handful of Dust, retreating to Aunt Ada Doom’s room in Cold Comfort Farm, settling into the quiet comfort of Mycroft Holmes’s Diogenes Club and meeting Thomas Love Peacock’s Honourable Mr Listless along the way. And, to finish, there are the usual wide-ranging reading recommendations for when you have an idle moment.
‘Your very good health,’ Brian said, raising his glass of champagne in the trio’s direction. ‘And by the way, gentlemen, I am not an old queen.’ He paused, forcing the men to look at him. ‘I am the Empress of Ireland!’ || Christopher Robbins, The Empress of Ireland
Warm wishes from Hoxton Square, where we’d like to thank you all for your support throughout the past year – and raise a glass to good health and good reading in 2022. If you’d like some reading recommendations to brighten January, and help us clear a few shelves to make space for yet more delicious titles along the way, please do browse our selection of offers and highlights . . .