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Australian Circles

Jonathan Coe, 12 September 1991

The Tax Inspector 
by Peter Carey.
Faber, 279 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 0 571 16297 5
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The Second Bridegroom 
by Rodney Hall.
Faber, 214 pp., £13.99, August 1991, 9780571164820
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... circles of a family history in which successive generations are debilitated by a legacy of abuse. Rodney Hall tells of a convict at large in New South Wales in 1838, caught up in larger, even more powerful cycles of captivity and exploitation, until he finds temporary sanctuary with an Aboriginal tribe and becomes ‘the very centre of their ...

Whitlam Fictions

Zachary Leader, 16 February 1989

Kisses of the Enemy 
by Rodney Hall.
Faber, 622 pp., £12.95, January 1989, 0 571 15091 8
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Postcards from Surfers 
by Helen Garner.
Bloomsbury, 180 pp., £11.95, January 1989, 0 7475 0272 2
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Forty-Seventeen 
by Frank Moorhouse.
Faber, 175 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 0 571 15210 4
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... from the Board’s largesse. The recent publication in Britain of works by three such figures – Rodney Hall, Helen Garner and Frank Moorhouse – provides a convenient occasion for assessment. Rodney Hall’s career neatly exemplifies current trends. Hall began his literary ...

Nuremberg Rally, Invasion of Poland, Dunkirk …

James Meek: The never-ending wish to write about the Second World War, 6 September 2001

Ghost MacIndoe 
by Jonathan Buckley.
Fourth Estate, 469 pp., £12.99, April 2001, 1 84115 227 7
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The Twins 
by Tessa de Loo.
Arcadia, 392 pp., £6.99, May 2001, 1 900850 56 7
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Riptide 
by John Lawton.
Weidenfeld, 322 pp., £16.99, March 2001, 0 297 64345 2
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The Day We Had Hitler Home 
by Rodney Hall.
Granta, 361 pp., £15.99, April 2001, 1 86207 384 8
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Five Quarters of the Orange 
by Joanne Harris.
Doubleday, 431 pp., £12.99, April 2001, 0 385 60169 7
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The Fire Fighter 
by Francis Cottam.
Chatto, 240 pp., £15.99, March 2001, 0 7011 6981 8
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The Element of Water 
by Stevie Davies.
Women’s Press, 253 pp., £9.99, April 2001, 0 7043 4705 9
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The Bronze Horsewoman 
by Paullina Simons.
Flamingo, 637 pp., £6.99, April 2001, 0 00 651322 0
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The Siege 
by Helen Dunmore.
Penguin, 304 pp., £16.99, June 2001, 0 670 89718 3
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... of the Yard. You can make it modern picaresque, a frenetic burst of lyrical futurist imagery, like Rodney Hall’s The Day We Had Hitler Home, which is haunted by the presiding monster-to-be of the war to come: an injured German soldier, arriving in New South Wales in 1919, whose name is Adolf Hitler. Or you can make it like Five Quarters of the Orange, a ...

The Fire This Time

John Sutherland, 28 May 1992

... Future historians looking back at the Rodney King insurrection in South Central Los Angeles will not see (or not just see) another in the line of racial explosions which go back through Watts, the Zoot Suit riots, to the ‘Yellow Peril’ pogroms of the early 20th century. What distinguishes this particular affray by (and against) a Californian ethnic minority is that it was the first such to be entirely and comprehensively covered by television ...

Whomph!

Joanna Biggs: Zadie Smith, 1 December 2016

Swing Time 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 453 pp., £18.99, November 2016, 978 0 241 14415 2
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... of her mother and her boss. The narrator meets Tracey at dance lessons in a sweaty-floored church hall in Willesden in 1982. They are both seven. Tracey’s ballet shoes are made of impractical satin and are tied to the ankle with ribbons, and hers are of ‘pale pink, piggy leather’, fastened to her foot with a thick strip of elastic. They notice each ...

Liberation Music

Richard Gott: In Memory of Cornelius Cardew, 12 March 2009

Cornelius Cardew: A Life Unfinished 
by John Tilbury.
Copula, 1069 pp., £45, October 2008, 978 0 9525492 3 9
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... Webern, Boulez and Stockhausen – to which his contemporaries Susan Bradshaw and Richard Rodney Bennett were also drawn. The mecca for music students in those days was Stockhausen’s headquarters at Darmstadt, where the ‘Darmstadt Headbangers’, as Tom Lubbock describes them, treated Britten and Shostakovich with derision as traditionalists, and ...

Diary

Stephen Smith: In LA, 25 March 1993

... George is holding a copy of that morning’s Los Angeles Times, which reports details of the Rodney King trial. Now for all I know, George is so devoted to South Central LA that he holds a weekly acting workshop in Lynwood, but if he’s anything like most of the Anglos in Los Angeles, he is happier contemplating the minutiae of its native movie business ...

Diary

Inigo Thomas: Berry Bros, 20 December 2018

... I knew next to nothing about. First things first: I got up from my desk and walked out of the exam hall to the lobby, where I lit a cigarette – it was 1985, and that sort of thing was possible. As I smoked, I settled on a question about the wine trade during the Hundred Years’ War. I knew about the wars; what I knew about the wine trade was that I knew ...

The Immortal Coil

Richard Barnett: Faraday’s Letters, 21 March 2013

The Correspondence of Michael Faraday Vol. VI, 1860-67 
by Frank James.
IET, 919 pp., £85, December 2011, 978 0 86341 957 7
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... scientist: between 1982 and 1996 Matthew Noble’s bust occupied a place of honour in the entrance hall at Number Ten. His stock has risen slowly and steadily; compare this with the Nasdaq-esque slumps and booms of Darwin’s posthumous standing. Like Darwin, coaxing, flattering, prodding, Faraday knew how to fashion networks of correspondence, how to maintain ...

Outbreak of Pleasure

Angus Calder, 23 January 1986

Now the war is over: A Social History of Britain 1945-51 
by Paul Addison.
BBC/Cape, 223 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 0 563 20407 9
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England First and Last 
by Anthony Bailey.
Faber, 212 pp., £12.50, October 1985, 0 571 13587 0
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A World Still to Win: The Reconstruction of the Post-War Working Class 
by Trevor Blackwell and Jeremy Seabrook.
Faber, 189 pp., £4.50, October 1985, 0 571 13701 6
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The Issue of War: States, Societies and the Far Eastern Conflict of 1941-1945 
by Christopher Thorne.
Hamish Hamilton, 364 pp., £15, April 1985, 0 241 10239 1
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The Hiroshima Maidens 
by Rodney Barker.
Viking, 240 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 670 80609 9
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Faces of Hiroshima: A Report 
by Anne Chisholm.
Cape, 182 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 224 02831 6
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End of Empire 
by Brain Lapping.
Granada, 560 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 246 11969 1
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Outposts 
by Simon Winchester.
Hodder, 317 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 340 33772 9
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... hundreds of thousands were built, had a bourgeois look. Coventry Cathedral and the Royal Festival Hall were modern architecture on a human scale. Though a high proportion of Londoners were being rehoused in flats, the LCC forbade the construction of blocks more than six storeys high. So there wasn’t a visible ‘social revolution’, or an invisible ...

Joe, Jerry and Bomber Blair

Owen Hatherley: Jonathan Meades, 7 March 2013

Museum without Walls 
by Jonathan Meades.
Unbound, 446 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 1 908717 18 4
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... Teulon, William Butterfield, Frederick Pilkington, Dominikus and Gottfried Böhm, Claude Parent, Rodney Gordon, Richard Rogers (in his Gothic moods), Zaha Hadid. Sometimes, as with the Communist emulator of the style of Italian Fascism Douglas Stephen, architect of a ‘Dan Dare mini-skyscraper’ in Swindon, or the South London aesthete Sextus ...

Sixtysomethings

Paul Addison, 11 May 1995

True Blues: The Politics of Conservative Party Membership 
by Paul Whiteley, Patrick Seyd and Jeremy Richardson.
Oxford, 303 pp., £35, October 1994, 0 19 827786 5
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Frustrate Their Knavish Tricks: Writings on Biography, History and Politics 
by Ben Pimlott.
HarperCollins, 417 pp., £20, August 1994, 9780002554954
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... significant issues on which the parties oppose one another. But these, to borrow a phrase from Rodney Lowe, are examples of ‘conflict within consensus’. Pimlott has been much in demand as a reviewer of political biography and reprints here the pieces he has written on a gallery of individuals, from Churchill, Kennedy and De Gaulle to Harold Macmillan ...

He don’t mean any harm

John Bayley, 28 June 1990

A.A. Milne: His Life 
by Ann Thwaite.
Faber, 554 pp., £17.50, June 1990, 0 571 13888 8
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... Willows for his little boy as a result? Milne turned it into popular dramatic form as Toad of Toad Hall, but despite superficial resemblance to the Pooh world it remains a fundamentally different achievement. The Wind in the Willows is a masterpiece because it really does create a new world, a serious self-contained place, whereas Pooh and Christopher Robin ...

We were the Lambert boys

Paul Driver, 22 May 1986

The Lamberts: George, Constant and Kit 
by Andrew Motion.
Chatto, 388 pp., £13.95, April 1986, 0 7011 2731 7
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... dance no sarabande’) and reflective, modelled on Negro singing (particularly that of the Music Hall artist Florence Mills), but also close to Delius’s manner and what would be Walton’s in his 1931 Osbert Sitwell oratorio Belshazzar’s Feast; a dancing, hard-hitting orchestral style, somewhat anticipatory of Leonard Bernstein’s; and a marvellously ...

Suckville

Emily Witt: Rachel Kushner, 2 August 2018

The Mars Room 
by Rachel Kushner.
Cape, 340 pp., £16.99, June 2018, 978 1 910702 67 3
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... agriculture, and the institutions of America’s penal system. Narrating the ride to jail is Romy Hall, a 29-year-old stripper and single mother who has been given a double life sentence for murdering a man who stalked her. The year is 2003. Her first parole hearing will be in 37 years’ time. She has been in jail for two years already, long enough to learn ...

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