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Tag Archives: fiction

Living in a ghost town

Ten years ago, I wrote the world’s first review of Chinaman, for the Sri Lankan Sunday Times. Last week, I interviewed Shehan Karunatilaka at the launch of his new novel, Chats with the Dead, at Barefoot Gallery. Here are the (brutally-abbreviated) highlights of those proceedings. – For The Sunday Times (SL)

Selassie come home

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste Canongate, £16.99, pp. 428 . In 1935 the troops of Benito Mussolini’s sinister-clownish Roman Empire II invaded Ethiopia, in large part out of spite for Italy’s embarrassing defeat there 40 years before. Initially largely uncontested – thanks both to emperor Haile Selassie’s desperate faith in international brotherhood and to [...]

M.O.’s m.o. – or; Everybody wants to be like Mike

A review of Michael Ondaatje’s Warlight. – For The Spectator

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. In China the dials of a clock turn round instead of the hands. — The Nelson Evening Mail, September 8 1908 . Benedict Cumberbatch reads Oryx magazine. A piece of pasta (dry) weighs essentially one gram. A man can only care about so many things. Labels are for clothes. In Bosnian there are no words for [...]

Feats of Klay

Redeployment By Phil Klay (Canongate, 291pp, £15) ‘Nobody wants to do a year in Iraq’, mutters one of the narrators in Phil Klay’s Redeployment, ‘and come back with nothing but stories about the soft-serve ice-cream machine at the embassy cafeteria.’ No kidding. And Klay (rhymes with ‘guy’) will not have been the first soldier, American [...]