Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Norman Lewis on the BBC

Norman Lewis wrote one of my favourite books, which I only read because it was a "battered penguin". I had almost forgotten how much I loved him until I was reminded of his existence by Don McCullin's decision to nominate him as the subject of a programme in the Great Lives series. I love him so much that I overcame my usual aversion to Matthew Parris's manner and listened to the episode, and I recommend that everyone else in the world does too (but ignore Parris's stupid questions about whether Lewis was a cad or made up things). You should be able to find the episode under Great Lives in the BBC radio IPlayer.

Meanwhile, here are Lewis's Guatemalan tribal people, the Chillams, on the move, to everyone's surprise:

"a  white creeping advance of human lava [moving] towards the centre of Guadaloupe', 'moving not so much as individuals but as a gigantic hollow muscle contracting slowly', 'flowing steadily across the bottom of the Alameda - over the central flower beds, across the wide, mosaic pathway, filling the roadway and streaming through more flower beds and shrubberies slow and deliberate as the lazy advance of rollers seen from afar off up a wide beach ... like a termite army [that] would take the shortest route to their objective,' "


  1. Hadn't heard of Norman Lewis, and shall place him on my reading list. But would also take the opportunity to comment on 'Great Lives'. I can tolerate Matthew Parris, but often find the competition between the nominating guest and the experts excrutiating listening - though sometimes hang in there because I'm so interested in the subject.

    1. Because of Parris - I don't know why I don't like his manner; I'm sure he is very nice and clever et c et c - I don't normally listen but I switched on the radio and this one was on so I did, because I love Norman Lewis. I have to admit it took me a while to realise there was a nominator and an expert as I muddled the two. Once I twigged that there were two, I never completely worked out which one was talking or who the second one was, which was annoyingly confusing