Remember those good old days when you couldn’t lose a telephone handset because it was made of Bakelite and was attached to the telephone? When gentlemen wore Covert coats and ties even when they weren’t going to work and there was a Charing Cross Road full of second hand book shops? Well you probably also remember that Yellow Pages advertisement featuring one J.R. Hartley and his quest to find a particular fly fishing book – by, oh yes, J.R. Hartley.
Nostalgia is a comforting thing and often the best time to enjoy it is when one has the time and relaxation to do so – as on holiday. So it is good news indeed to discover that Hartley’s memoirs (as dictated to Mr Russell), Fly Fishing by J.R. Hartley and J.R. Hartley Casts Again, are back in print in one volume. Even for those whose idea of hell is a bank, a rod and a packet of soggy sandwiches wrapped in greaseproof paper, these fictional memoirs are much more than a discussion of the relative merits of the Damsel fly and the Cats Whisker. They are a collection of evocative stories of school, university and beyond with a distinctly clubbable feel. So settle back in your armchair (with antimacassar firmly in place) and enjoy their gentle humour and the illustrations by the incomparable Patrick Benson.
J. R. Hartley All the Way to the Bank
Hardback £15.95 (239pp)
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