Berfrois

Peter Marshall reviews Purity

Peter Marshall reviews Purity

Purity can be a bit overstuffed with newsworthy items and references from the past several years of American life. He seems to want to write novels that would be candidates for the time vault, so that if people ever wonder what life was like in America at a certain point in the past thirty years, his novels, with all their material and cultural details, will let them know.

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Arundhati Roy’s Return to Fiction

Arundhati Roy’s Return to Fiction

Arundhathi Roy in 2013. Photograph by Augustus Binu. From The New York Times: “I’ve always been slightly short with people who say, ‘You haven’t written anything again,’ as if all the nonfiction I’ve written is not writing,” Arundhati Roy said. It was July, and we were sitting in Roy’s living...

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Rohan Maitzen on George Eliot

Rohan Maitzen on George Eliot

George Eliot’s novels are often painful places to be. Her characters frequently find themselves embroiled in circumstances beyond their control or understanding, struggling to find their way forward in the face of incompatible desires or competing goods.

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Daniel Bosch on Yang Mu

Daniel Bosch on Yang Mu

Yang Mu’s verse autobiographical prose, like his verse, relies on close observation of Taiwan’s landscape, flora, and fauna for imagery and metaphor. Yet if the humidity, the light, the tang in the breeze—the embodied experiences of the young Yang Mu—are distinctly Taiwanese, his themes are broadly human.

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Virginia Woolf on Mrs. Grey

Virginia Woolf on Mrs. Grey

There are moments even in England, now, when even the busiest, most contented suddenly let fall what they hold — it may be the week’s washing.

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“To walk into a library is like listening to an orchestra tuning its instruments”

“To walk into a library is like listening to an orchestra tuning its instruments”

When I pick up a new novel, I will start in the middle. I will read ten pages in the middle, and if get interested in the sound of the writer’s voice I will go back and start at the beginning.

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Attack on the Time-Cult!

Attack on the Time-Cult!

Between the wars, Wyndham Lewis entered into the most prolific period of his career, writing twenty-three fictional and non-fictional books concerning politics, religion, philosophy and the arts.

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Three Writers on Writing

Three Writers on Writing

Work comes from the accumulation: the momentums of routine, patience and attention.

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‘It is the head of human poetry’

‘It is the head of human poetry’

In the used bookstores of Boston in the late 1980s, the Renaissance section always had multiple cheap copies of two books: E.M.W. Tillyard’s The Elizabethan World Picture and Walter Pater’s The Renaissance.

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What are we able to know about superstar college dropouts?

What are we able to know about superstar college dropouts?

A glance at celebrity websites and magazines serves to confirm that it is possible to make a living by taking photos of very famous people doing very ordinary things: walking dogs, pumping gas, dropping children off at daycare.

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D. Joyce-Ahearne on Federico García Lorca

D. Joyce-Ahearne on Federico García Lorca

If duende, the source of inspiration that Lorca sets out to champion in his essay at the expense of the Muse, is “in sum, the spirit of the earth”, a force linking body and soil through a struggle akin to death, then the Muse is a force that speaks...

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Through Art and Buried Memory

Through Art and Buried Memory

From American Poetry Review: Lately, the word extinction floats around in my interior conversations, spurred most obviously by environmental destruction, endless and senseless wars, and of course my own awareness of personal mortality. In the trips I’ve made over the last five years to see the Ice Age painted caves...

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The letters of Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg chart a 40-year friendship…

The letters of Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg chart a 40-year friendship…

The story now feels nearly inevitable. In 1955, Allen Ginsberg moved into an apartment in the San Francisco North Beach area, just a few blocks away from Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Pocket Bookshop.

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Oh, Sheila

Oh, Sheila

Near the beginning of Sheila Heti’s 2012 novel, How Should a Person Be?, the narrator—coyly, “Sheila”—recalls a jilted ex-lover’s composition of “an outline for a play about life—how it would unfold, decade by decade.”

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‘This book would never be published’

‘This book would never be published’

Was I really willing to write a book that wouldn’t be seen (let alone read) by anyone I knew, or anyone who might want to hire me in the future?

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Remembrance of Translations Past

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: LGBT Struggles in Albania

This morning I woke up to a rather surprising headline: "first gay marriage in Tirana." The article referred to the marriage ceremony recently held...

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Feroz Rather in Srinagar

Though the war was still going on, it was not a terribly sad time in my life; at least, I had the consolation of...

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Foucault’s Politics of Truth by Stuart Elden

The key figures are Cardinal Richelieu and Chancellor Séguier, and Foucault thinks it is important that he can discern the “first great deployment of...

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Menachem Feuer on Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham

Elle called Silverman’s image of her wearing a shirt with several naked Lena Dunhams a “beautiful tribute.” Dunham, the article tells us, “seemed to...

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Mediamacro are very good at pretending…

A few weeks ago I was having dinner with David Cameron. Well, almost - we were at the same restaurant but on tables at...

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Tammy Ho Lai-Ming: One Little Room

A room with graffitied walls. Inside this room the dogs bark. A room cluttered with porcelain figurines. A room decorated with binary numbers.

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Jeremy Fernando
Jeremy Fernando on Tan Chui Mui

For, it is not as if films speak; nor are their filmmakers there—at the site where this alleged speaking to, speech, takes place —...

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David Beer
David Beer: Make Happy, Happy, Happy

As I read through William Davies’ engaging new book, I can’t help but wonder what Mad Men’s Don Draper would have made of John...

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Russell Bennetts: Coffee for 8 More

I might be the last person you should ask about St. Paul coffee in general. On an ordinary day I make do with drip...

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Emeline Edgewood
In X the Promise

X seems to want to be both the equivalent of The Giant and of Laura Palmer’s mother in Twin Peaks.

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Municipal

Although there are also some independent candidates who may take a few votes here and there, the general opinion of the Tirana public and...

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En Liang Khong: Full Bloom

The cross-dressing Qiu Jin was emblematic of a revolutionary feminist current at the end of the Qing era, writing urgently on women’s emancipation: “While...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Very Much Like a Whale by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

They had obviously taken the pictures of the whale, and the group of people carrying it, out of curiosity. But still the images failed...

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