Berfrois

In November, we hear death’s footsteps..

In November, we hear death’s footsteps..

We have a little bit more time. It’s one of the last days of the month, and the clouds have come and so the rain will come and then the snow will come.

Read More

Power and New York’s Forgotten Waterfronts

Power and New York’s Forgotten Waterfronts

In Jennifer Egan’s The Keep, a former New York club promoter boasts a sixth sense for authority: “Danny could walk in a room and know who had power the way some people know from the feel of the air that it’s going to snow.”

Read More

Ecstasy and Turmoil

Ecstasy and Turmoil

Boris Pasternak is best known for writing Doctor Zhivago, a novel which documents these years of national upheaval through the eyes of a poet...

Read More

The Shape of an Egg by Amy Glynn

The Shape of an Egg by Amy Glynn

Our first Christmas together, I was 39 weeks pregnant. He let me drag a seven-foot fir tree up the stairs to the flat and sat on the couch with a beer...

Read More

Virginia Woolf on Dorothy Osborne

Virginia Woolf on Dorothy Osborne

Our early literature owes something of its magnificence to the fact that writing was an uncommon art, practised, rather for fame than for money...

Read More

James Miller: Towards a Deranged Realism

James Miller: Towards a Deranged Realism

Before the confusion sets in, I’m going to try to make some statements, set out a few positions that will also be provocations and, inevitably, generalisations.

Read More

Books About Books About the Brontës

Books About Books About the Brontës

There are far too many books about the Brontës, and books about books about the Brontës, for us to be able to track and arrange our knowledge exhaustively.

Read More

Postscript, Stranger by Nyla Matuk

Postscript, Stranger by Nyla Matuk

It is only when we are able to understand the stranger within ourselves (étrangers à nous-mêmes) that we might confront our reasons for creating the stranger.

Read More

Mystery Maier

Mystery Maier

No one would find the prospect of posthumous fame more appalling than the photographer Vivian Maier.

Read More

Eric D. Lehman on John Fowles

Eric D. Lehman on John Fowles

It’s not an easy thing to watch one of your favorite authors slide into obscurity. John Fowles, once hailed as the greatest living novelist...

Read More

Viktor Shklovsky Remixed by Joel Katelnikoff

Viktor Shklovsky Remixed by Joel Katelnikoff

A man is walking alone across the ice; fog is all around him. He believes that he is walking in a straight line. Wind disperses the fog: the man sees his goal, sees his tracks.

Read More

The Don Quixote of Bourgeois Ruin

The Don Quixote of Bourgeois Ruin

“I know of no one today who can make characters come alive the way you do,” Albert Camus wrote to Guilloux in 1946...

Read More

Dying Fall

Dying Fall

There’s an inexhaustible market for stories of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. They are firmly in the weave of heroic modernism, poster-children for a generation’s promise, achievement, excess, and tragic denouement in the wake of Zelda’s diagnosed schizophrenia and Scott’s alcoholism, fragile aging, and early death.

Read More

Thomas Larson on Thomas Merton

Thomas Larson on Thomas Merton

One of Merton’s reveals occurs during a visit to Cuba where the Catholic Church is predominant. There, as a novitiate, he feels so free that he writes “the first real poem I had ever written”

Read More

Wistful Blonde’s Hair

Wistful Blonde’s Hair

The contribution of my former department to the general gaiety was to be a talk by Margaret Drabble, on the topic of young women at university in the 1960s and 1970s.

Read More

Drink Through

Drink Through

Sit in silence in the dark. Vibrate vigorously. Roll on your side. Picture tight, glistening calves and dark eyebrows.

Read More

Uber, Deleted

Uber, Deleted

For about three months this year, I drove an Uber taxi in London (as research for a book about the company). My entry into this world of casual employment was greeted by reams of pseudo-emancipatory rhetoric.

Read More

‘We were subversives, a little suspect, a little uncomfortable’

‘We were subversives, a little suspect, a little uncomfortable’

I am not the only woman who worked at Playboy and kept her clothes on. When I was hired as literary editor in 2005...

Read More