thu 04/03/2021

Books features

Alice Ash: Paradise Block review - a matrix-like collection that reinvents the short story genre

“Burglar alarms jangled through the empty hallways of Paradise Block.” In this ramshackle, lonely tenement, such alarms might be one’s only company. Yet, in this intricate collection of short stories, the inhabitants’ lives intertwine. Alice Ash’s...

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Extract: 'On Loneliness' by Fatimah Asghar, from 'The Good Immigrant USA'

The infamous border wall. Prolonged detention. Children in cages. Even as Biden's election promises a sea change in Trump's devastatingly hardline immigration policy, immigrants, both first- and second-generation, face a spectrum of prejudice,...

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Vincent van Gogh: the reader and the writer

A life in art, a life in looking; a life in writing, a life in reading; a life fuelled by passionate emotions, personal attachments and religious turmoil. There are a few artists whose lives are so intertwined with their work that their biography as...

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Book extract: Holiday Heart by Margarita García Robayo translated by Charlotte Coombe

Holiday heart, instead of sentimental love discovered on vacation, describes a faltering organ, overloaded from excess consumption: a heart at risk. In Margarita Garcia Robayo’s brilliantly observant, often sardonically pitched novel, the heart...

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Book extract: Minor Detail by Adania Shibli - III of III

At the end of an exhausting day's driving punctuated by disappointments and false leads, the narrator finds herself back at the Israeli town of Nirim where she spends the night. Slipping off early in the morning, she first fills her eyes with the...

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Book extract: Minor Detail by Adania Shibli - II of III

The second half of Minor Detail is narrated in the first person by a young Palestinian woman who reads an article about the rape and murder of the captured girl. When she finds out the crime took place exactly 25 years before her birth, she...

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Book extract: Minor Detail by Adania Shibli

The first half of Minor Detail is set in an Israeli military camp in the Negev desert in August 1949, during the conflict celebrated as the War of Independence in Israel and a year after the mass expulsion mourned as the Nakba in Arabic in which...

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'You’re Jewish. With a name like Neumann, you have to be'

It was during my first week at Tufts University in America, when I was 17, that I was told by a stranger that I was Jewish. As I left one of the orientation talks, I was approached by a slight young man with short brown hair and intense eyes. He...

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Book extract: Insurrecto by Gina Apostol

She had clutched the envelope given by the shy messenger, but she had never opened it. The Intended.True. The message from the director was for her.A joke between them—a bond.Though in her view he was no Kurtz: all he wanted was to finish his film....

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Al Alvarez: 'If I drop dead this minute, I’ve had a ter­rific time'

We like to think of ourselves as a nation of eccentrics, but some take their patriotic duties more seriously than others. Al Alvarez – poet, critic, poker player, rock climber, old-school literary mensch, who has died at the age of 90 – took his...

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Best of 2018: Books

Reasons to be cheerful? A fortissimo blast of anguish and foreboding currently sounds from both those end-of-year round-ups that look back over the past twelve months, and the doomy previews that dwell on the travails of our immediate future. So, in...

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h 100 Awards: Publishing and Writing - other stories, other voices

If history repeats itself, better hope that it corrects its mistakes as well. This year’s nominations for the h100 awards in publishing and writing reflect the welcome drive towards diversity and inclusion among Britain’s wordsmiths and the various...

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