tue 11/08/2020

memoir

Alex Halberstadt: Young Heroes of the Soviet Union review - a familial history of the twentieth century

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a collective examination of its past, with Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich at the helm. Young Heroes of the Soviet Union looks back at the USSR through the lens of the personal, much like...

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Sharon Dolin: Hitchcock Blonde: A Cinematic Memoir review - a poet’s life filtered through Hitchcock’s lens

Poet Sharon Dolin’s memoir Hitchcock Blonde ends (no spoilers) in the same way as the famous English director’s Vertigo begins: with a cliffhanger. Of sorts. In the film, a rooftop chase gone awry leaves James Stewart’s Detective “Scottie” dangling...

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Bette Howland: Blue in Chicago review – the city on trial, with the writer as witness

You feel at times, while reading the collection Blue in Chicago, that Bette Howland might have missed her vocation. In another life, Howland – until recently almost completely lost to literary history – could have made a name for herself as a...

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Terri White: Coming Undone review - a British journalist unravels in NYC

The journalistic addiction-memoir is a crowded genre these days: Details editor Dan Perez chronicles his massive intake of Vicodin and other opioids in As Needed for Pain; New York Times columnist Eilene Zimmerman pieces together her husband’s drug...

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Moyra Davey: Index Cards review – fragments of the artist

Moyra Davey’s biographical note, included in Fitzcarraldo Editions’ copy of Index Cards, describes “a New York-based artist whose work comprises the fields of photography, film and writing.” It is a useful aperture into the Toronto-born artist’s...

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Feel Good, Channel 4 and Netflix review - a fresh, bingeable comedy that digs deep but feels mild

“I am not intense.” That declaration arrives early in Feel Good, the new Channel 4 and Netflix romantic comedy fronted by comedian Mae Martin, who plays a fictionalised version of herself. Over Mae’s shoulder, we see a literal trash fire. She’s lit...

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Pete Paphides: Broken Greek review - top of the pop memoirs

Think of the phrase “music memoir”, and you might conjure images of wild nights and heavy mornings. You’re unlikely to think of suburban West Bromwich and tributes to Mike Batt’s Wombles back catalogue. But then, Pete Paphides’s story is comprised...

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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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Deborah Orr: Motherwell review - memoir, but so much more

Published in the year following Orr’s death at the age of 57, Motherwell is an analysis of the author’s childhood in Motherwell, on the outskirts of Glasgow, and her first steps into adulthood. However, while this book is ostensibly about Deborah...

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Joanna Cannon: Breaking and Mending review - can you feel too much?

Joanna Cannon was a wild card. She left school at 15 with one O-level and after various jobs, including working as a barmaid, she was given a place at medical school. The admissions professor accepted a wild card a year, someone whose path had been...

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Vic Marks: Original Spin review - trouble in Taunton

In cricket, timing is everything. Played a fraction early and that silky cover drive finds a batsman out to lunch as the ball cannons into his stumps. Too late and it dribbles uselessly to mid-off.Ex-cricketer turned journalist Vic Marks has made it...

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David Hepworth: A Fabulous Creation review - how vinyl soothed our souls and defined our being

Record Store Day is now a fixture on the calendar, a key element in “the vinyl revival”, and this year – 13 April – it’s possible to buy a special Rega Planar Plus 1 Turntable, one of a limited edition of 500 costing £299. A novelty to many – but...

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