Page 56. " If I were called in "

Philip Larkin (1922-1985) was a British poet, writer, jazz critic and librarian in Hull.  Highly celebrated and admired, he was offered – but declined – the position of Poet Laureate.

The Philip Larkin Society

Larkin reading "Water":


Page 57. " We'll meet again "
by cm

Listen on Spotify:  We'll Meet Again performed by Vera Lynn



Page 58. " Willam James "

 William James (1842-1910) was an American philosopher and psychologist.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: William James

Emory University: William James

The Quotations Page: William James



As for his younger brother...

Page 58. " Henry James's late novels and can quote a passage from The Golden Bowl "

 Henry James (1843-1916) was a noted American essayist, critic, and author of the realism movement, who became a British citizen and spent the last 40 years of his life in England.

The Golden Bowl (1904) details a complex father-daughter relationship.

Online Literature: Henry James

The Ladder: A Henry James Website

Google Books: The Golden Bowl



Page 66. " Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary "

Two classics by Leo Tolstoy and Gustave Flaubert.  Both feature discontented wives who conduct adulterous affairs.  Following on the reference to The Golden Bowl, another story of adultery, McEwan may be developing a theme here.

Google Books: Anna Karenina

Google Books: Madame Bovary


Page 67. " magical realists "

Authors described as magical realists blend supernatural elements with otherwise normal storylines, bringing a sense of mystery to real situations.  Magic realism is particularly associated with Latin American fiction.

Emory University Postcolonial Studies: Magical Realism

Seattle Schools Background Primer: Magical Realism


Page 67. " One visionary saw through a pub window his parents "
by cm

This last of the magic realist books that Henry Perowne dismisses as "irksome confections" is Whitbread Novel Award winner The Child in Time (1987) by none other than Ian McEwan.

Page 69. " the Prime Minister is expected to emphasise in a speech "
Tony Blair
Creative Commons AttributionTony Blair - Credit: Little Miss Sally

As you watch your TV pictures of the march, ponder this: if there are 500,000 on that march, that is still less than the number of people whose deaths Saddam has been responsible for.

If there are one million, that is still less than the number of people who died in the wars he started.

– Tony Blair, 15 February 2003

Key quotes from the speech


Page 71. " a big crowd is making its way east "
London Anti-War March, 15 February 2003
Creative Commons AttributionLondon Anti-War March, 15 February 2003 - Credit: Simon Rutherford

The crowd are on their way to join the anti-war protest march.  London was one of many cities to host such a march on 15 February 2003. 

The police estimated over 750,000 people took part in the London march.

BBC article: "Million march against Iraq war"