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How many times?

Nicole Flattery: Catherine Lacey, 16 July 2020

Pew 
by Catherine Lacey.
Granta, 207 pp., £12.99, May, 978 1 78378 517 9
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... Catherine Lacey’s​ last book, Certain American States (2018), a short story collection, began with an epigraph from Annie Baker’s play Circle Mirror Transformation:LAUREN: Hey. Um. This is kind of weird – but do you ever wonder how many times your life is gonna end?(Another silence.)SCHULTZ: Uh … I’m not sure I know what you –LAUREN: Like how many people you’re … like how many times your life is gonna totally change and then, like, start all over again? And you’ll feel like what happened before wasn’t real and what’s happening now is actually …(She trails off ...

Excessive Weeping

Lauren Oyler: Nicole Flattery’s Stories, 10 October 2019

Show Them a Good Time 
by Nicole Flattery.
Bloomsbury, 238 pp., £14.99, March 2019, 978 1 5266 1190 1
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... social problems, but while many recent authors – among them Ottessa Moshfegh, Halle Butler and Catherine Lacey – have attempted to evoke the depths of hopelessness plumbed in the last decade or two, Flattery’s nihilism is uniquely uncynical; she actually seems to believe that nothing matters. The beautiful 24-year-old narrator in Moshfegh’s My ...

Every inch a king

Antonia Fraser, 16 October 1980

Great Harry 
by Carolly Erickson.
Dent, 428 pp., £8.50, July 1980, 0 460 04366 8
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... great work dramatically revised our thinking about the bloat King. Three years later appeared Lacey Baldwin Smith’s rich and racy study of the King’s character, taken from the viewpoint of old age and subtitled ‘The Mask of Royalty’: here Tudor history and modern psychology made slightly strange but nevertheless exciting bedfellows. Both books are ...

Frocks and Shocks

Hilary Mantel: Jane Boleyn, 24 April 2008

Jane Boleyn: The Infamous Lady Rochford 
by Julia Fox.
Phoenix, 398 pp., £9.99, March 2008, 978 0 7538 2386 6
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... entrance, and Jane’s is one of them. She was beheaded in 1542, with Henry VIII’s fifth queen, Catherine Howard. She was one of Catherine’s ladies, and for reasons which remain inaccessible to us, she had helped the dizzy little person carry on a love affair with a courtier, Thomas Culpepper. She passed on letters and ...

At the End of a Dirt Road

Thomas Powers: The Salinger File, 24 October 2019

The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour – an Introduction 
by J.D. Salinger.
Little, Brown, 1072 pp., $100, November 2018, 978 0 316 45071 3
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... called If You Really Want to Hear about It: Writers on J.D. Salinger and His Work, edited by Catherine Crawford.) There is no brisker way into the Salinger story than Morrill’s portrait: she is a fan, but she knows how to snap the ruler down. Salinger’s feel for the religions of the East, she writes, ‘is about what you’d have if you minored in ...

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