(From The Irish Times)
There are two literary genres that expanded with astonishing speed in the 1980s and 1990s as they became fashionable and popular.
In the 1980s, everyone was writing travel books. It seemed to be the fit-all-sizes genre; a bottomless hole into which one could pour anything and everything. Not many of these writers had anything interesting to say, so their books always aimed for showy effect rather than substance.
The other genre that expanded to bursting point was memoir; nothing was deemed untouchable - even incest between father and daughter, as in Kathryn Harrison's The Kiss.
Given all this, the writer Blake Morrison is both fortunate and unfortunate, since he wrote one of the defining memoirs of the 1990s; a decade which also saw so many terrible memoirs published.
Despite a well-respected reputation as poet, literary critic, and literary editor for both the Observer and the Independent on Sunday, it was not until he published his memoir, And When Did You Last See Your Father, in 1993, that his name became generally well-known. His book was that rare thing: a …