fri 06/08/2021

memoir

Extract: David Lan's As If By Chance

In June 2001 the London Festival of International Theatre brought Amir Nizar Zuabi’s Alive from Palestine to the Royal Court Theatre for one performance. The Guardian said, “How often do you see a piece of necessary theatre? These 'stories under...

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Rosie Wilby: The Breakup Monologues review - do breakups make us stronger, better people?

According to Rosie Wilby, “breaking up and staying together are simply two sides of the same coin. They are a flick of a switch apart, separated only by one fleeting moment of madness, or perhaps clarity.” Wilby’s book The Breakup Monologues: The...

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Kate Lebo: The Book of Difficult Fruit review - a rich, juicy delight

Two years ago, I became preoccupied with beetroot. I didn’t want to eat it, particularly, or learn new ways to cook this crimson-purple veg. Instead I hunted down stories of the “beet-rave”, as it was once called (from the French la betterave), from...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Author Sam Mills on the phenomenon of the 'chauvo-feminist'

Sam Mills’s writing includes the wondrously weird novel The Quiddity of Will Self, the semi-memoir Fragments of My Father, and Chauvo-Feminism (The Indigo Press), which was released in February 2021. Chauvo-Feminism is a non-fiction long-form essay...

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Book extract: Fat by Hanne Blank

"Ugh, I just feel so fat today," the woman near me in the locker room says to her friend as they get dressed after their workout. I look over – discreetly, as one does – to catch a glimpse of the grimacing side of her face as she zips up a pair of...

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Annie Ernaux: A Man's Place review - an intimate portrait, necessarily incomplete

As much as we would like it to, writing can never fully recapture someone who is gone. This we learn all too effectively in A Man’s Place by Annie Ernaux, arguably one of France’s most important living authors. The text, released in an updated...

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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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The Secret History of My Library: Essay by Daniel Saldaña París

Books lost, left in houses I never returned to; dictionaries mislaid during a move; seven boxes sold to a second-hand bookstore… The history of my library is the history of loss and an impossible collection, scattered around several countries,...

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Ottessa Moshfegh: Death in Her Hands review - a case of murder mind

Death in Her Hands was a forgotten manuscript, the product of a series of daily automatic writing exercises performed by Ottessa Moshfegh in 2015 and then set aside to marinade in a desk drawer while the world fell apart. Moshfegh’s characters “zoom...

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Helen Macdonald: Vesper Flights review - nature lovingly described, nearly lost

Vesper Flights, Helen Macdonald’s first book following her incredibly successful memoir H is for Hawk in 2014, is an excellent collection of short pieces focused on the natural world. It’s wonderful to read a book on this subject, especially one by...

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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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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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