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Tag Archives: novels

Ducks and cover

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann Galley Beggar Press, £14.99, pp1020 . Why, I asked some months back, in these pages, do the protagonists in American fiction these days seem so lost? What is it they’re all so het up about? Well… everything. At least according to the narrator of Ducks, Newburyport. Lucy Ellmann’s monster novel [...]

All good things must come to an end

Some Trick: thirteen stories by Helen DeWitt New Directions, £22.95, pp.197 Certain American States by Catherine Lacey Granta, £12.99, pp.190 Hostages by Oisín Fagan Head of Zeus, £8.99, pp.269 Notes from the Fog by Ben Marcus Granta, £12.99, pp.266 The Abyss and Other Stories by Leonid Andreyev Alma Books, £8.99, pp.315 . Only Helen DeWitt [...]

Did The English Patient send me to Afghanistan?

Two nights from now, by way of (ahem) a birthday present, I will be attending a live-orchestra screening of The English Patient at the Albert Hall. I had invited an old friend, a raven-haired young lady (named in Debrett’s) of impossibly romantic tendency, who first exposed me to the film in, I’d say, about 1998 [...]

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. Band instruments in use by the Salvation Army are worth £86,000. — The Nelson Evening Mail, July 17 1908 . A transgender man has had a baby five years after having one as a woman. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, is known as ‘Fazza’. ‘Ein Volk, ein [...]

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. The average salary of professors at Dublin University is £530. — The Nelson Evening Mail, March 14 1907 . The persecution of Christians is now worse than at any time in history. Toto’s ‘Africa’ is one of Myleene Klass’s all-time favourites. The Hillsborough disaster is still in the news. Simon Bolivar, a Venezuelan military and [...]

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. Only about three in every hundred amateur novel-writers find their way into print, except at their own expense. — The Nelson Evening Mail, January 22 1907 . The erection of a verandah is a useful way to extend one’s living quarters. Seven American states observe Abraham Lincoln’s birthday as a public holiday. There is only one [...]

Turning Japanese stomachs

Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima Penguin, 170pp, £8.99 . Born two years after the Great Earthquake of 1923, in ‘not too good a section of Tokyo’, Kochan is a sickly child, brought up by stultifying parents and a morbid grandmother. His first reliable memory is of the ‘night-soil’ man, and he immediately becomes [...]

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. A lady of limited means residing in the country says that her garden clothes herself and her daughter. — The Nelson Evening Mail, August 31 1906 . There is a typo in Punjabi birth certificates. Since January 2013, a Russian cruise ship has been drifting unmanned in the North Atlantic. Toxic trolls are pushing Vicky [...]

We were musketeers once, and young

Long, ‘lost’ sequel to The Three Musketeers, reviewed. – For The Spectator

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. The telephone has a tendency to render the girl operators left-eared. — The Nelson Evening Mail, July 4 1908 . Eight wickets for eight runs is the worst batting collapse in Twenty20 international cricket. St Blaise is the patron saint of sore throats, and of knitting. Estonian literature suffers from a dearth of stories [...]