Thursday, 26 June 2014


Do you have books you've read so long ago you can’t remember a thing about them? I just reread a few and am amazed at the historical detail I’ve forgotten.
  • New York 1985: Hotels charged 50 cents for a bag of ice (Frank Moorhouse, Room Service)
  • Canadian summer 1959: Italian immigrants played soccer and made “disgusting spectacles of themselves in their tight woollen bathing suits” (Susan Swan, The Last of the Golden Girls)
  • London 1982: Swiss watches were “utterly reliable… without going digital…Digitals have got no class” (Tom Stoppard, The Real Thing)
  • Montreal 1981: You could buy a house “for half its real value when, at the time of the Quebec referendum, the real estate prices collapsed” (Eva Stachniak, Necessary Lies)
  • London 1985: On the desk was a “portable typewriter, a piece of crisp white paper wound about its roller” (James Lasdun, Besieged)
But some things never change.
  • New York 1925: A woman in her forties was invisible “in a society where youth so undisputedly rules” (Edith Wharton, Mother’s Recompense)

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