I see the Spectator hoped to run a review of Farah Damji's Try Me but was thwarted by the bonds of friendship which so frequently decide what (and how what) gets reviewed in our largely (still!) Oxbridge press.
I am printing two letters (the latter edited to save blushes) between the magazine's literary editor Mark Amory and the press director of the company credited with publishing Try Me, Sophie Cooke. In this instance I think the magazine has behaved entirely honourably: it wasn't interested in the book, then became interested because someone Amory knew said he wanted to review the title. The reviewer manqué then cried off, thinking of Answered Prayers and the horrors of social ostracism, no doubt. Amory frankly and refreshingly reveals all. Do you see the sneery smile on Madame Arcati's face?
I hope you are well. I am just following up to see if you had a chance to look at the press release I sent you about Farah Damji’s book, Try Me, and if so, if you are at all interested in doing something with it? Many thanks,
The Ark Press
I am sorry I have mucked you about. I did not plan to do ‘Try Me’ then someone asked specially to do it, you decently sent me a copy and now he says he can’t because it is rude about dear friends. Why not defend them, I say but he is immoveable. Sorry.
Other examples of missing book reviews in our national press would be most welcome.