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This review is taken from PN Review 215, Volume 40 Number 3, January - February 2014.

The True Stuff simon pringle, Das Booty (FeedARead) £7.99

It is a truth universally etcetera that literary society is all cliques and old boy networks and, old boy, is it true of this review: yes, I first heard of the smuggling jape recorded in this book when standing in the porter's lodge of Merton College, wouldn't you just know. The story concerned the dramatic near-failure of a group of incompetents taking a launch down to Morocco to buy cannabis resin and bring it back to the UK to sell. The guy who was telling me was one of the then-single-sex college's celestial beauties; I was slightly in awe of him; his skinny jeans, fur waistcoat and knowing air made me feel a little provincial, and he could quote the English poets in thrilling fashion. He called up names unknown to me as though summoning his familiars: Balthus, Bonnefoy, Yourcenar, Sofia Andresen. He had, you may imagine, his own informant: after a suitable set of drumrolls, one day I met a small man in a large hat whose airy confidence was suffused with the names of the greats of European and South American literature. His name was Bruno Tolentino. He was a Brazilian poet who had written in French and was writing (a little off the mark, I felt) in English. The question was this: was he simply a con man? I was just enough of a linguist to know that his credentials in the Latin languages were impressive at least. He was Simon Pringle's lover and it was, apparently, one of the great literary loves: Antinous in skinny jeans, etc. I used to turn up ...


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