Margaret Drabble on Malcolm Bradbury's The History Man

05 September 2012

The novelist, biographer and critic Dame Margaret Drabble shares some thoughts on Malcolm Bradbury's The History Man.

‘This book was sharper, harder, blacker in its comedy than many of his admirers had anticipated. This was his third campus novel, but it had none of the self-deprecation, the slapstick and the gently depressed bathos that had been his hallmarks. It goes for the kill. Readers and critics sometimes use the word 'unpleasant' about it, and it does deal with much unpleasantness, but it also raises the spirits. I ascribe this to the great delight that Bradbury takes in his observation of the changing world around him, in its absurdities, its human oddities, its bizarre products.’

Read Ian McKewan's short tribute to Malcolm Bradbury

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