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Including his most memorable pieces -- his 'Postcard from Rome', his observations on Margaret Thatcher, his insights into Heaney, Larkin and Orwell -- this book also contains brilliantly funny examinations of characters like Barry Humphries, as well as showcasing James's more thoughtful, analytical side. From Germaine Greer to Marilyn Monroe, from the nature of celebrity to German culpability for the Holocaust, Reliable Essays is an unmissable collection from one of the best writers of our time. 'He has widened the tonal range of criticism, permitting it to be both sober and skittish, learned and lewd, rhetorically rambunctious and epigrammatically concise ...an intellectual as well as a joker, a wise man as well as a wit' Peter Conrad, Observer 'His writing is impeccably witty, flexible and urbane ...immensely enjoyable to read. It's a pleasure to see the metropolitan critic back in action' Christopher Taylor, Sunday Telegraph 'He can both get to the heart of a subject and raise a laugh' Nicholas Lezard, Sunday Times