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52 weeks, 52 books

14 down, 38 to go

I actually read this a week or so ago, but as the last few days have been taken up with things other than reading books, Polder gets it’s moment of recognition a little late.
Two definitions first of all. A festschrift is defined as “a book honouring a respected academic“, and a Polder asAn enclave of toughened reality, demarcated by boundaries from the surrounding world“. That’s that cleared up then.

This is a celebration of three related subjects. John Clute, Judith Clute, and their flat in Camden. And taken as a celebration it is a joyous occasion. There are 27 essays, stories and poems here, which should be enough to satisfy the most varied of taste. Personally, Jack Womack’s riff on Pale Fire is the gemstone in the centre of the book, but alongside contributions from Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Tom Disch and Geoff Ryman, that’s akin to choosing between a set of bottles of Romane Conti. I’ve spent enough time in Camden to appreciate the subjects of this collection – their influence on me, and my writing, is something I can never repay – and Farah Mendlesohn has assembled a party in their honour well worth the price of admission. And where else are you going to be able to read a piece by Neil Gaiman that includes the phrase “perversely treliquescant“?*

*which means that this page might be a googlewhack in a few weeks time…


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