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Reviewer was quite kind to pretentious diatribe

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Letters

I must take issue with the letters in support of Katherine Shonfield's book. Shonfield's stated dislike of sycophancy is obviously not shared by her coterie, especially Jeremy Melvin, who patronizingly asserts that he has 'seen them [Shonfield and her book] evolve'. If anything should make us 'misty-eyed', it is the love of a sycophant for his 'friend'.

Having laboured over every page, I thought your reviewer was quite kind, in that the book was one of the most pretentious diatribes I have had the misfortune to wade through. It had the audacity to 'critique' systembuilt tower blocks via an assessment of cosmetic advertising; and the Docklands development via a cursory study of Mary Poppins!

The description of Alfie, the flaneur, is typical. In a scene where Michael Caine goes into a shop for a liaison with a shop assistant, Shonfield says: 'By turning the open sign to closed, the transformation of public to private space is achieved with the most minimal of architectural interference.' In the end, this sort of thing is beyond parody.

Graham S Lierseth, London

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