sat 03/12/2022

memoir

Patti Smith: A Book of Days review - adding to Insta's debris

On April Fool’s Day, in 1978, the godmother of American punk, Patti Smith, jumped offstage at the Rainbow Theatre in London halfway through a version of “The Kids Are Alright” and started dancing in the crowd. Her vertiginous feat was also a leap of...

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Derek Owusu: Losing the Plot review - the finest perfume

Derek Owusu’s debut That Reminds Me won the Desmond Elliot Prize in 2020. When asked what it was that she loved most about Owusu’s semi-autobiographical 117-page book, Preti Taneja, chair of the judges (and winner of the prize herself in 2018)...

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Phoebe Power: Book of Days review - the clack of walking poles, the clink of scallop shell

The word “shrine” somersaults me back to the path of the Camino de Santiago. I have lost count of the faces that smiled up from photos positioned in the hollow of trees, some with little plastic figurines for company, others set in stone next to a...

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Scholastique Mukasonga: The Barefoot Woman review - remembering Rwanda before 1994

To read Scholastique Mukasonga’s memoir, The Barefoot Woman, beautifully translated from the French by Jordan Stump, is to see simultaneously through the eyes of a woman and a child.The mother, the industrious and ingenious Stefania, watches her...

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Extract: Catching Fire by Daniel Hahn

Daniel Hahn began his translation of Jamás el fuego nunca, a novel by experimental Chilean artist Diamela Eltit, in January 2021. Considering the careful, difficult but not impossible “craft” of translation as he worked, Hahn kept a diary,...

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Extract: Where My Feet Fall - Going For A Walk in Twenty Stories

I began work on Where My Feet Fall a few months into the pandemic of 2020. After lockdown was announced we all became better walkers, and the collection took on greater resonance.The writers I selected were invited to do one of two things – recall a...

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Marianne Eloise: Obsessive, Intrusive, Magical Thinking review - bargaining with the devil

No mental health condition has become quite as kitsch as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Its tacky shorthands – the hand washing, the germaphobia, the clean freaks – have made their way into everything, from Buzzfeed listicles to The Big Bang Theory...

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Album: Elvis Costello and the Imposters - The Boy Named If

There is a sense in which Elvis Costello emerged as a recording artist fully grown, with that unique vocal mix of vulnerability and insolence, savvy and often brilliant lyrics. Although he has never stopped experimenting, always with the logic of a...

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Peggy For You, Hampstead Theatre review - comedic gold, and a splinter of ice, from Tamsin Greig

Was Peggy Ramsay a “woman out of time”? The celebrated London literary agent, who nurtured the talents of at least one generation of British playwrights, surely counted as a legend in her own lifetime (she died in 1991). Has she lasted beyond it?...

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Marcin Wicha: Things I Didn’t Throw Out review - the stories told by stacks of stuff

Marcin Wicha’s mother Joanna never talked about her death. A Jewish counsellor based in an office built on top of the rubble of the Warsaw Ghetto, her days were consumed by work and her passion for shopping. Only once did she refer to her passing,...

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Extract: The Breaks by Julietta Singh

How do we mother “at the end of the world”? Among the ruins of late capitalism, climate catastrophe, and entrenched white state violence?Julietta Singh “admit[s] that at a conceptual level there is a crucial part of me that wants to throw in the...

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10 Questions for writer Lucia Osborne-Crowley

Anyone familiar with psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk’s bestseller The Body Keeps the Score (2014) will recognise the ghost of his title in Lucia Osborne-Crowley’s My Body Keeps Your Secrets. His book is an essential text for understanding the...

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