Rod Liddle' s hilarious, outrageous column in the Guardian says things about public life many may think but few dare say in public. In TOO BEAUTIFUL FOR YOU he applies the same principle to the emotional life - and particularly sexual feelings. The interweaving lives of a group of people living in a small area of South London sometimes become surreal, but are always charged with emotion, and Liddle describes them in a way that, however bizarre the turn of events, emotional reality burns off the page. A young woman gets very drunk and sleeps with a Romanian tramp. She hopes her friend won't tell anyone, if no other reason than that she knows this friend wants to keep secret that she once slept with a dwarf. Meanwhile her friend is turning into a member of the insect kingdom through over- use of depilatory gel. A headmaster considers means of chastising a troublesome pupil who has raped and murdered a member of staff and mounted her head on a pole in the playground, and a man considers whether or not to embark on an illicit affair, remembering that the last time he did so, he was watched by the entire British establishment through a first floor window.
And meanwhile an addled journalist seeks comfort from his wife on account of the fact that he has lost his girlfriend, who really was too beautiful for him.
Rod Liddle resigned as editor of BBC Radio 4's flagship Today programme last September after a row over impartiality in his regular column in the Guardian. Told by his bosses he must make a choice, Liddle opted to quit the programme and keep his newspaper column. Liddle is now associate editor of The Spectator. He recently presented Seven Ways to Topple Saddam on BBC2 and programmes follow for Channel 4 on the Church of England and pornography, along with a BBC politics show.