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This report is taken from PN Review 218, Volume 40 Number 6, July - August 2014.

This Is Not About Poetry Vahni Capildeo
Dear Editor, thanks for asking me to write a review of a factual book in which the sentences aspire to the condition of German, pushing the verb towards the end. To complete this review, it has been necessary for me to retire to a convent a little to the east of the city, for reasons which will be explained later. It is the most comfortable place in which I have tried to review a book. The nuns have given me the entire first floor of an Edwardian villa. If I return, as usual, at an unreasonable hour, I light my way with my cellphone, so as not to disturb the ground-floor Sister, who teaches Greek intensively in the basement. On the landing, I check the sign slung across the banister of the next flight up: anyone wanting utter solitude takes refuge in the attic. The sign has shifted from ‘unoccupied’ to ‘occupied’ a few times, with no footstep heard.

Now the temperature has dipped to twelve below zero (when changing for bed, as quickly as I take off one garment I put on another), there is a spectacular view across the arbours and rooftops towards a silverblue Oxford where nobody might be talking at all. In the springtime, the Sisters say, amorous frogs in the lily pond outside the convent parlour raise a joyful noise. The winter moment’s silence seems reinforced.

Dear Editor, although you have asked me to review a factual book about television in an historical era which reminds me of my parents and their scholars’ garden parties with Lord Denning ...


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