tue 19/10/2021

literature

Wole Soyinka: Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth review – sprawling satire of modern-day Nigeria

Eight-years passed between the publication of Wole Soyinka’s debut novel, The Interpreters (1965), and his second, Season of Anomy (1973). A lot happened in the interim. One of Nigeria’s most resilient critics of corruption and...

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Thomas Hardy: Fate, Exclusion and Tragedy, Sky Arts review – too much and not enough

Born in 1840, Thomas Hardy lived a life of in-betweens. Modern yet traditional, the son of a builder who went on to become a famous novelist, he belonged both to Dorset and London. When he died, his ashes were interred at Westminster Abbey, but his...

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Claire-Louise Bennett: Checkout 19 review - coming to life

Like any good writer, Claire-Louise Bennett loves lists. Lists are, after all, those moments when words, freed from grammar’s grip, can simply be themselves – do their own thing, show off, let loose. It doesn’t take much for Bennett to let one...

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10 Questions for novelist Mieko Kawakami

Mieko Kawakami sits firmly amongst the Japanese literati for her sharp and pensive depictions of life in contemporary Japan. Since the translation of Breasts and Eggs (2020), she has also become somewhat of an indie fiction icon in the UK, with her...

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Test Signal: Northern Anthology of New Writing review – core writing from England's regions

“On the Ordinance Survey map, it has no name”, writes Andrew Michael Hurley, of the wood that nevertheless gives its name to his essay. “Clavicle Wood” provides the first chapter in the Test Signal: Northern Anthology of New Writing. It is...

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Natasha Brown: Assembly review - turning personal crisis into perfect criticism

School assembly: one of the many great traditions to be upended by the pandemic. According to this novel, that might not be such a bad thing. It looks like hymns and barely secular thoughts-for-the-day have been swapped out for inspirational,...

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Being Mr Wickham, Original Theatre Company online review - an uncontroversial apologia

It wasn’t Jane Austen’s subtlest move, naming her roguish soldier George Wickham. As countless GCSE English teachers have patiently read in generations of essays, his surname sounds a lot like "wicked" – and wicked he is. Adrian Lukis, who played...

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Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation review - genius dogged by disappointment

Kindred literary spirits who overlapped in any number of ways make for riveting stuff in Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation. Filmmaker Lisa Immordino Vreeland folds archival footage of the legendary writers together with...

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Edward St Aubyn: Double Blind review - constructing 'cognition literature'

If it weren’t for the warning on the blurb, the first chapter of Double Blind would have you wondering whether you’d ordered something from the science section by mistake. It's a novel that throws its reader in at the deep end, where that end is...

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Agustín Fernández Mallo: The Things We've Seen review - degrees of separation

Trilogies (it is noted, in the term’s Wikipedia entry) “are common in speculative fiction”. They are found in those works with elements “non-existent in reality”, which cover various themes “in the context of the supernatural, futuristic, and many...

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Extract from Sauntering: Writers Walk Europe, introduced and edited by Duncan Minshull

Wandering, ambling, sauntering. The last, least heard of the three, captures a sense of leisurely aimlessness: a jolly meander unbound by destination, admitting none of the qualms of timekeeping or pacing. In his latest anthology, sequel to Beneath...

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Brenda Navarro: Empty Houses review - the pains and pressures of motherhood

The horror novelist Sarah Langan recently compared motherhood to being treated like a game of Operation. “The point of the game is to correct us by removing our defective bones, to carefully pick us apart. It’s open season.” For the Mexican writer...

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