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.
Larkin reading "Water":
William James (1842-1910) was an American philosopher and psychologist.
As for his younger brother...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.