Philip Hensher

I’ve praised Philip Hensher in this blog before. I’ll be honest and say that I only read two of his novels, The Northern Clemency (which everyone, including me, think his best) and King of the Badgers, which is great at some stretches and disappointing as a whole. But good writers can always do good; King of the Badgers has, for example, the best descriptions of modern gay life I’ve read anywhere. In the same book, there’s this extraordinary description of Miranda, a college lecturer in post-colonial literature:

”Miranda spent little time using the kitchen for its purpose. But when Kenyon was cooking in there, she followed him in with a glass of white wine, and chatted to him as he played about with his complicated cooking. Boys’ stuff, the referred to it as. When cookery passed out of the realm of women, it had gone only partially into the habits of me, who naturally took it up in too complicated and fussy a way. She had said this to Kenyon in the past. ‘You can’t help it,’ she said. ‘You’re a man. You have to do everything as a man does it. You love a little hobby, the more complicated the better. It’s all to do with taking control, and directing the gaze back to you.’”

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About David Roman

Communicator. I tweet @dromanber.
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