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Tesco and a Motorway

Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite: In the Coalfields, 9 September 2021

Anne & Betty: United by the Struggle 
by Anne Scargill and Betty Cook.
Route, 256 pp., £20, November 2020, 978 1 901927 81 8
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Women of the Durham Coalfield in the 20th Century: Hannah’s Daughter 
by Margaret Hedley.
History Press, 159 pp., £14.99, March, 978 0 7509 9504 7
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Coal Country: The Meaning and Memory of Deindustrialisation in Postwar Scotland 
by Ewan Gibbs.
University of London, 306 pp., £25, February, 978 1 912702 55 8
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Scottish Coal Miners in the 20th Century 
by Jim Phillips.
Edinburgh, 336 pp., £24.99, February, 978 1 4744 5232 8
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The Shadow of the Mine: Coal and the End of Industrial Britain 
by Huw Beynon and Ray Hudson.
Verso, 402 pp., £20, June, 978 1 83976 155 3
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... and Jim Phillips, in their studies of Scottish miners and the decline of coal, and Huw Beynon and Ray Hudson, in their comparative account of the coalfields of South Wales and County Durham, describe the particular fate of the coal industry, which was not typical, but a special case.Coal production peaked in Britain in 1913, when 292 million tonnes were ...

The Lovely Redhead

Frederick Seidel, 30 August 2012

... side by side. This has been the warmest Manhattan Since temperatures have been recorded, And the Hudson and the East River continue to rise, Along with the civilisation they are part of – And the rents in the East Village, And the number of restaurants. This island is a toupee Of towers, floating away. Don’t drown in your rivers, not yet. Maybe five ...

Did he leap?

Paul Mendez: ‘Harlem Shuffle’, 16 December 2021

Harlem Shuffle 
by Colson Whitehead.
Fleet, 320 pp., £16.99, September, 978 0 7088 9944 1
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... the new novel’s protagonist is less interested in social justice than in his own expedience. Ray Carney owns a furniture store on 125th Street in Harlem, has a college degree and, at the age of 29, aspires more than anything to move his family to a better neighbourhood. It’s a slippery climb up into the higher echelons of Harlem’s business elite, not ...

North and South

Raphael Samuel, 22 June 1995

Coming Back Brockens: A Year in a Mining Village 
by Mark Hudson.
Cape, 320 pp., £16.99, October 1994, 0 224 04170 3
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... pleasure and their politics. Their homes, however, remained some of the worst in Britain. Mark Hudson’s Coming Back Brockens – subtitled ‘A Year in a Mining Village’ – extends this anti-heroic narrative, though from the standpoint of a travel writer and a man of letters rather than, as in Beatrix Campbell’s case, that of embattled feminism. The ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: How We Are, 5 July 2007

... is lost. In Foto Follies: How Photography Lost Its Virginity on the Way to the Bank (Thames and Hudson, £15.95), the American photographer Duane Michals warns us not to ‘trust any photograph so large that it can only fit in a museum’. In its short history photography has had several booms and busts. The high-street studio was made less viable by the ...

Comprehending Gaddis

D.A.N. Jones, 6 March 1986

The Recognitions 
by William Gaddis.
Penguin, 956 pp., £7.95, January 1986, 0 14 007768 5
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by William Gaddis.
Penguin, 726 pp., £7.95, January 1986, 0 14 008039 2
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Carpenter’s Gothic 
by William Gaddis.
Deutsch, 262 pp., £8.95, February 1986, 0 233 97932 8
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... on a trade if Nowunda holds out takes a stiff royalty on mineral exports solve this problem at Ray-X getting rhodium for thermocouples on these government fixed price contracts ... However, I recognise the Gaddis attitude on page 20, when a man is copying down some meaningless arrangement of Greek letters hewn upon a school portico. ‘Oh, can you read ...

The Only Alphabet

August Kleinzahler: Ashbery’s Early Life, 21 September 2017

The Songs We Know Best: John Ashbery’s Early Life 
by Karin Roffman.
Farrar, Straus, 316 pp., £25.50, June 2017, 978 0 374 29384 0
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... the choice of biographer and the assembling of the book. He invited Karin Roffman to his home in Hudson, New York, not far from Bard College, where they both taught. It was 2005; Ashbery was 78. Roffman had been expecting ‘a mid-century-modern glass cube and found instead a large, gloomy-looking 19th-century Victorian manse’ filled with a curious array ...
Dust-bowl Migrants in the American Imagination 
by Charles Shindo.
Kansas, 252 pp., £22.50, January 1997, 0 7006 0810 9
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In the Country of Country 
by Nicholas Dawidoff.
Faber, 365 pp., £12.99, June 1997, 0 571 19174 6
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... Tobacco Road. Nor did the Collins model produce unfailing harmony between migrants and managers. Ray Mork quarrelled with the campers at Indio in 1939, threatening to throw them out if they did not obey regulations. In 1941 Conrad Reibold, manager at Firebaugh, reported that participation in camp democracy was so half-hearted as to make positions on the camp ...

Self-Made Man

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Edith Wharton’s Domestic Arrangements, 5 April 2007

Edith Wharton 
by Hermione Lee.
Chatto, 853 pp., £25, February 2007, 978 0 7011 6665 6
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... of Innocence, only the one called ‘Literature’ never appeared, and it eventually turned into Hudson River Bracketed (1929). At the same time, Lee reports, Wharton’s archives are thick with abandoned projects; and even a fragment like ‘Beatrice Palmato’ is heavily corrected. No wonder that Berenson chose to address her as ‘O Vigorosa!’ All this ...
Djuna Barnes 
by Philip Herring.
Viking, 416 pp., £20, May 1996, 0 670 84969 3
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... did she store it all? Where did that live? Djuna Barnes was born in 1892 in a log cabin on the Hudson River in upstate New York. She was the second in a seemingly endless line of bohemian children. Her father, ‘a misunderstood artistic genius’ according to his mother Zadel, never had a job until Zadel died when he was 53. Meanwhile, he did her proud by ...

Global Style

Hal Foster: Renzo Piano, 20 September 2007

Piano: Renzo Piano Building Workshop 1966-2005 
by Philip Jodidio.
Taschen, 528 pp., £79.99, February 2005, 3 8228 5768 8
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Renzo Piano Building Workshop Vol. IV 
by Peter Buchanan.
Phaidon, 240 pp., £22.95, January 2005, 0 7148 4287 7
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... a World Trade Center scheme which, fed up with the debacle in Lower Manhattan, relocated from the Hudson to the Thames. Clearly, Renzo Piano Building Workshop delivers a design profile that speaks to different elites; in this respect its success, if not its size, recalls that of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in the postwar heyday of late modern architecture as ...

With Only Passing Reference to the Earth

James Hamilton-Paterson: The Martian Enterprise, 22 August 2002

Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination and the Birth of a World 
by Oliver Morton.
Fourth Estate, 351 pp., £18.99, June 2002, 9781841156682
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... civilisation, a myth that underwrote popular fancy and science fiction from H.G. Wells onwards. Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles of 1951, which as an adolescent in the 1950s I knew as The Silver Locusts, combined this idea with that of Mars as a frontier planet soon to be colonised and revivified. Set between January 1999 and October ...

Sex on the Roof

Patricia Lockwood, 6 December 2018

Evening in Paradise: More Stories 
by Lucia Berlin.
Picador, 256 pp., £14.99, November 2018, 978 1 5098 8229 8
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Welcome Home: A Memoir with Selected Photographs 
by Lucia Berlin.
Picador, 160 pp., £12.99, November 2018, 978 1 5098 8234 2
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... in’. There are a staggering 33 of them, some with notes like, ‘Over a ham factory – my W.H. Hudson still smells like ham 25 years later,’ and, plainly, ‘I burned it down.’ The last house was on Alcatraz Avenue in Oakland, California, and its note reads, ‘No catastrophe. So far.’ Let that detail lead the cult, then. Let us type our stories on ...

Afloat with Static

Jenny Turner: Hey, Blondie!, 19 December 2019

Face It 
by Debbie Harry.
HarperCollins, 352 pp., £20, October 2019, 978 0 00 822942 9
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... such as a picture, on page 152, of a tea party Harry gave in London in the late 1970s with X-Ray Spex’s Poly Styrene, the Selecter’s Pauline Black, Chrissie Hynde from the Pretenders, Albertine and Siouxsie Sioux. I was at school in Scotland doing my O-Grades back in those days, when Top of the Pops started filling up with these oddly dressed and ...


David Bromwich: This was Orson Welles, 3 June 2004

Orson Welles: The Stories of His Life 
by Peter Conrad.
Faber, 384 pp., £20, September 2003, 0 571 20978 5
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... minutes later when his charred remains were found among the first casualties of the Martian death ray. Professor Pierson, meanwhile, had repaired to a nearby farmhouse, where he set up a makeshift transmitter. In words hard to make out behind a tinny echo, he gave a restrained account of what had passed at Grovers Mill. The Martians had found a way to ...

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