When I Lived in Modern Times, by Linda Grant

I did a spot of filming for BBC 4 with Julie Burchill recently, to talk about her new book "Unchosen".

WhenILivedInModernTimesCoverI did a spot of filming for BBC 4 with Julie Burchill recently, to talk about her new book "Unchosen" - and about the Bookish Supper Society, where she is appearing next month.

After the rigours of facing the camera was over, she gave me one of her favourite books. I thought I had not read it, as I glanced at the cover. But then when I got home and opened it, I realised that of course I had. It was the different cover that threw me.

Julie told me that one of the many, many reasons that she loved Israel was that it was only in the sun that she "got" the concept of Bauhaus architecture.

And this wonderful book is partly about that, too.

Set in 1946, it is the story of Evelyn Sert, a hairdresser from Soho, who sets sail for Palestine - where Jewish refugees and idealists are gathering to start a new life.

Tel Aviv, a glittering new city of Bauhaus-inspired building, makes her believe that anything is possible. She falls in love and enters a very dangerous game indeed.

The city itself glows from the page and is a very real character in this fantastic book. It is a city of faith and optimism and reinvention. Page after page sings out to you and leaves you with a satisfied mind and heart.

The queen of Brighton said that if she had to leave Brighton, Tel Aviv is where she would go.

And, after re-reading this, I can quite understand why.

Julie Burchill will be appearing at The Bookish Supper Society on Wednesday, June 18.  Tickets from Tabl.com or 01273 709709.