‘Lost Girls’

Ysenda Maxtone Graham, 9 December 2019

Rather​ D.J. Taylor than me, when it comes to untangling the unbelievably complicated and messy love lives of the so-called Horizon circle: the people who clustered adoringly around Cyril...

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Omitted from ‘Innocence’

Penelope Fitzgerald, 9 December 2019

‘It was supposed to end in the flood in Florence in 1966,’ she wrote to Stuart Proffitt, her editor at Collins, ‘but I gave up as all the characters would have got so old by that time.’

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Edna O’Brien’s ‘Girl’

Patricia Lockwood, 25 November 2019

‘Hold on a minute,’ I said, when her latest novel arrived in the mail, ‘this book is about Boko Haram???’

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'I'm a narcissist and so is Ben Lerner'

Joanna Biggs, 25 November 2019

The Topeka School (think New York School, or don’t) is more than a confession, an excuse, a romp, a holiday; it uses what has come from Lerner’s earlier experiments in autofiction –...

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On Douglas Crase

Matthew Bevis, 25 November 2019

‘The most interesting book of first poems in many years’, Richard Howard proclaimed in 1981. James Merrill, John Hollander and John Ashbery spoke in similarly emphatic terms, while...

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What’s most unusual about Ducks, Newburyport isn’t its length but the sustained attention it pays to the details of domestic life that usually go unwritten. That its maximalism feels like a...

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Harold Bloom

Colin Burrow, 19 November 2019

Harold​ Bloom, who died at the age of 89 just before the publication of The American Canon, made his name in 1973 with The Anxiety of Influence. It was a great title, which soon became a...

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Chaucer’s Voices

Barbara Newman, 19 November 2019

Every age creates its own Chaucer. For Eustache Deschamps, a contemporary, he was the ‘grant translateur’. For Hoccleve, a disciple, he was ‘my deere maistir’ and ‘the firste...

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‘Fleishman Is in Trouble’

Emily Gould, 19 November 2019

We first encounter​ Rachel Fleishman through the eyes of her ex-husband, Toby, who is trying to come to terms with her absence. He notices all the places in his life where she is not....

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Olive Kitteridge, Again

Tessa Hadley, 19 November 2019

Small Strout’s writing is often fuelled by indignation, but it’s directed at the injustices of class and poverty rather than patriarchy. On the whole, with some notable exceptions, she is kind...

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David Jones removes himself

Paul Keegan, 7 November 2019

‘You​ ought to be in a kindergarten,’ a Canadian nurse exclaimed to David Jones, aged twenty, awaiting transfer home in July 1916 after being wounded in Mametz Wood. Even a decade...

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‘The Testaments’

Deborah Friedell, 7 November 2019

After she wrote The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood created sci-fi dystopias – she prefers the term ‘speculative fiction’ – chock-full of viral pandemics, antibiotic resistance,...

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Too Proustian

Michael Wood, 7 November 2019

Bernard de Fallois​, a legendary French editor and publisher, died in January 2018. He worked for a long time at Hachette, and set up his own company in 1987. At one point, he was considering...

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The Upsides of Sontag’s Downsides

James Wolcott, 24 October 2019

Arguing about Sontag is one of the things that keeps her alive for us, as a figure of contention. We may end up arguing about her longer than we continue reading her, but that’s for posterity to...

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The Salinger File

Thomas Powers, 24 October 2019

When​ I think of J.D. Salinger now – not the books but the man – the thing I find hardest to understand is the moment when, in his early thirties, he began to hide his face. In 1952...

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Ilya Kaminsky

Colin Burrow, 24 October 2019

Ilya Kaminsky​ was born in 1977 in Odessa, the Ukrainian city named after Odysseus. In his first full-length collection of verse, Dancing in Odessa (2004), he let his readers in on a...

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Rewriting ‘Pericles’

Adam Smyth, 24 October 2019

Ben Jonson’s​ comedy The New Inn (1629) was, by all accounts, a theatrical disaster: ‘negligently played’ at the Blackfriars Theatre, according to its title page, ‘and...

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‘Girl, Woman, Other’

Clare Bucknell, 24 October 2019

It’s opening night​ at the National Theatre. The radical writer and director Amma Bonsu, snubbed for decades by the cultural establishment for her uncompromising work (FGM: The Musical;

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