Miss Herbert, by Adam Thirlwell Jonathan Cape, £25
Miss Herbert, Adam Thirlwell’s second book, announces itself as a very particular kind of non-fiction: “a collage of novels and romances in ten languages, on four continents, with maps, portraits, illustrations and a variety of helpful indexes.” If that’s no help, it adds that it is “an inside-out novel—with novelists as characters.” And if that’s no help, well, that’s partly the point. Because Miss Herbert is a wilfully, profoundly idiosyncratic book about the slippery edges of language, and what happens when someone tries to do something new with the novel.
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