Mark Hannam


Swimming With Diana Dors
by Jeremy Worman
(Cinnamon Press, 2014)

Printable version

Larry Temkin
Being Good in a World of Need

Peter E Gordon
Migrants in the Profane

Janek Wasserman
The Marginal Revolutionaries

Michael Lewis
The Fifth Risk

Brooke Harrington
Capital without Borders

Jo Wolff
Ethics and Public Policy

Daniel Halliday
The Inheritance of Wealth:
Justice, equality, and the
right to bequeath

Martin Jay
Reason after Its Eclipse: On Late Critical Theory

Lesley Sherratt
Can Microfinance Work?

Boudewijn de Bruin
Ethics and the Financial Crisis: Why Incompetence is Worse than Greed

Nicholas Morris &
David Vines

Capital Failure: Rebuilding Trust in Financial Services

Looking at Warhol's Flowers

Jeremy Worman
Swimming With Diana Dors

Michael Ignatieff
Fire and Ashes: Success and
Failure in Politics

Jon Elster
Securities Against Misrule

Jesse Norman
Edmund Burke: Philosopher, Politician, Prophet

Michael Sandel
What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets

Hilary Mantel
Bring up the Bodies

Philip Coggan
Paper Promises: Money, Debt and the New World Order

Jeffrey Friedman &
Wladimir Kraus

Engineering the Financial Crisis: Systemic Risk and the Failure of Regulation

Jeremy Worman

Martin Gayford
Man with a Blue Scarf

Raghuram Rajan
Fault Lines

Jonathan Israel
A Revolution of the Mind

T. J. Clark
The Sight of Death

Beautiful Facts:
Recent Paintings by
Alison Turnbull

Jacqueline Novogratz
The Blue Sweater

Matthew Bishop &
Michael Green


Camilla Howalt

James Griffin
On Human Rights

Ronald Cohen
The Second Bounce of the Ball

Edward Craig
The Mind of God and the Works of Man

When Rose Turpin's mirror mists up, she knows that she will be visited by a spirit from beyond the grave: a friend, perhaps, or a client from days gone by. Through communion with ghosts, her past recurs as present. Whether her memory is exact, or prone to exaggeration, we do not know. Did she dine with Dylan Thomas at the Eiffel Tower? Did she get racing tips from Jeffrey Bernard? Did she really place a curse on her mother and cause her death? We will never know for sure.

The truth, or otherwise, of memory is a central thread that runs through many of the stories in this new collection by Jeremy Worman. Sometimes we misremember because we misunderstood: we did not fully comprehend what was happening at the time, because we were young, innocent, or preoccupied. Sometimes we misremember to protect ourselves: we do not want to admit our pain, our weakness, or our embarrassment. The past is a hostile country.

In 'Christmas Games' a pubescent boy struggles to cope with his father's illness, his mother's infidelities and the unwanted attentions of a middle-aged couturière. The strength of his feelings is intense, but he lacks the maturity to manage them well. He is already a little man but not yet his own master. Later, in 'After Father's Funeral', the same boy, slightly older, continues to chafe at his mother's brazenness. A sympathetic older man provides him with solace and cider.

For young men struggling to establish their identities and their independence, alcohol and drugs have always held a strong allure. In 'Susanna at Maidenhead', two teenage boys compete for Susanna's affections, first over coffee and cannabis and later over burgers and speed. The boys' needs are too deep and too complex to be satisfied by a diet of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll; and anyway, their parents intervene once things start to get out of hand.

Our failure to connect - to be at ease in the company of others - remains a problem for men long after boyhood has passed. In 'Terry', the narrator finds comfort in solitude, old glamour movies, and his sister's abandoned clothes. In 'Storm at Galesburg', while Richard is driven through a snow-storm he resists the warmth of male friendship offered by his travelling companion. Older women manage better: in 'Her Finest Hour' the ninety-one year old narrator defends her Hackney home from a power company door-stepper. One swift blow with her cast-iron poker and the hawker is gone: she knew how to connect!

Worman's short stories describe the boundaries - both physical and psychological - that separate family, friends and strangers. He tells of suspicion and of betrayal. He proffers glimpses of intimacy and the possibility of conflict resolved. As we encounter others, so we encounter ourselves. Worman mists the mirror of our memory and we wait - with bated breath - to see who has returned to haunt us.

Printable version

© Mark Hannam June 2014

back to top

home| about|articles|essays|reviews|contact