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Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

"A kid for two farthings" by Wolf Mankowitz

Set in the East End of London. While his mum does piece work making hats, Joe, too young for school, is looked after by Mr Kandinsky who, helped by Shmule, sews trousers in the basement. When Joe's pet, a day-old chick, dies, he goes into the market to buy a unicorn. The unicorn is crooked, and very sickly, but unicorns have the power to grant wishes.

  • Joe wants his father to come back from Africa.
  • Mr Kandinsky wants a steam trouser press.
  • Shmule wants to be a body-building champion but needs to earn money through professional wrestling against fighters who frighten him.
  • Sonia wants Shmule to buy her a diamond ring which is why Shmule is wrestling.


Will dreams come true?

A charming story told from the perspective of a little boy and full of wonderful characterisations and superbly caught dialogue.

Some great lines:

  • "Life is all dreams - dreams and work. That's all it is." (C 1)
  • "'For how long?' she said, 'how long is anyone pretty?'" (C 1)
  • "Naturally small animals only have small lives and naturally they lose them more easily." (C 1)
  • "Everybody needs a name, otherwise how can they know who they are?" (C 4)
  • "They only talked to themselves, mumbling all the time, sometimes having arguments alone." (C 4)
  • "One of the things about games is that unless you keep adding to them and working out new ideas, they get dull - not the games really, but you get dull in the games, and then they seem dull."(C 7)
  • "Once the evening comes, what does it matter how bright or dull the day has been?" (C 9)


A beautifully told novella from the author of Make me an Offer. April 2019; 97 pages

This was made into a film directed by Carol Reed and starring such luminaries as David Kossof playing Mr Kandinsky and Diana Dors playing Sonia. Wolf Mankowitz is perhaps better known for his contribution to the world of films: he is the man Apart from going to Downing College Cambridge (where I followed twenty years later) Wolf Mankowitz is the man who introduced Cubby Broccoli to Harry Saltzman which led to the James Bond films; having written the screenplay for Dr No, Wolf thought it was not good enough so asked that his name be removed from the screen credits.

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