mon 22/04/2024

memoir

Heather McCalden: The Observable Universe review - reflections from a damaged life

Artist and writer, Heather McCalden, has produced her first book-length work. The Observable Universe examines, variously, her familial history, the death of her parents to AIDS, and the subsequent loss of her maternal grandmother, Nivia, who raised...

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First Person: Ten Years On - Flamenco guitarist Paco Peña pays tribute to his friend, the late, great Paco de Lucía

There are moments that forever remain imprinted in our consciousness, engraved on the general map of our lives. I cannot forget the excitement of seeing snow for the first time in Córdoba, aged three or four, rushing to walk on it only to slip...

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Sheila Heti: Alphabetical Diaries review - an A-Z of inner life

After a first read of the blurb for Sheila Heti’s Alphabetical Diaries, you might be forgiven for assuming that this is merely a gimmick.The book does what it says on the tin: each "chapter" begins with the next letter of the alphabet, with the...

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Richard Dorment: Warhol After Warhol review - beyond criticism

2023 was a good year for Andy Warhol post-mortems: after Nicole Flattery’s Nothing Special, after Alexandra Auder’s Don’t Call Home, Richard Dorment’s Warhol After Warhol.Their publication journeys undoubtedly benefitted from the value Anglophone...

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Annie Ernaux: Shame review - the translation of pain

The latest translation of Annie Ernaux’s Shame – a text most closely akin to a long-form essay – is an absorbing examination of how one fleeting moment from childhood can have lasting and unpredictable consequences, and how a life might be...

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First Person: Marc Burrows on getting to know Sir Terry Pratchett

In a very real sense, Terry Pratchett taught me how to write. I first came across his work when I was 12 years old, in the early 90s.My parents had been given copies of two of the earliest books in his Discworld series, Guards! Guards! and The...

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Extract: Bacon in Moscow by James Birch

In 1988, James Birch – curator, art dealer, and gallery owner – took Francis Bacon to Moscow. It was, as he writes, "an unimaginable intrusion of Western Culture into the heart of the Soviet system". At a time of powerful political tension and...

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Polly Toynbee: An Uneasy Inheritance - My Family and Other Radicals review - looking back

There are few contemporary journalists whose names are instantly familiar – and usually it’s for the wrong reasons. Polly Toynbee occupies a special place in the hearts and minds of all those on the left. To those on the right, she is among the most...

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Sophia Giovannitti: Working Girl - On Selling Art and Selling Sex review - portrait of the artist as sex worker

Sophia Giovannitti begins selling sex because it promises to make her the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time. She also has a “near categorical hatred of work.”I nearly – mentally – tweak that sentence to read “of conventional types...

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Susan Finlay: The Lives of the Artists review - the knotted threads of memoir and art

Benvenuto Cellini’s My Life (1728) is not the artist-biography to which Susan Finlay’s The Lives of the Artists pays its most obvious homage, but it appears to have followed its advice. All men of achievement and honesty, Cellini argues, "should...

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Noreen Masud: A Flat Place - reflective landscapes

On the front cover of Noreen Masud’s startling memoir, A Flat Place, a green square of sky is scored across by a notched brown line. It represents the horizon of one of the flat landscapes through which the author travels.Masud is, amongst other...

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Margaret Atwood: Old Babes in the Wood review - bookending the short story

Margaret Atwood has been writing for sixty years now, and, with her latest publication, she has given us a book of short stories in three parts, Old Babes in the Wood. These tales are engaging, but, as is frequently the case with short story...

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