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FICTION:  Pilcrow, By Adam Mars-Jones, Faber & Faber, 525pp. £18.99 ADAM MARS-JONES holds a peculiar place among contemporary English writers, writes John Boyne.

Although named by Granta in 1983 as one of the best of the new generation of British novelists, it was 10 years before he published his debut, The Waters of Thirst, by which time he had already appeared on Granta's second such list. 

Since then, he has devoted himself almost exclusively to literary criticism and it seemed as if he had forsaken writing novels altogether in favour of reviewing them. But not so, for here is Pilcrow, an extraordinary and lengthy work which manages to be both enchanting and frustrating in almost equal parts.

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