Berfrois

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.

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Drink Through

Drink Through

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

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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.

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‘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...

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Corruption, It’s Bad

Corruption, It’s Bad

Having set off for Moscow after a dinner with friends, the hero awakens outside of Kolpino from an intolerable rocking. Seeing in front of him the windshield bespattered with vomit.

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We Love Harder

We Love Harder

From Tangerine, Magnolia Pictures, 2015 From Evening Will Come: Our will to be is driven by our will to love ourselves and each other. I have never seen anything more revolutionary than the love that is shared between and among Black people. And what is possibilized through our love of...

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Elizabeth Bowen for the Pub Wall!

Elizabeth Bowen for the Pub Wall!

Iris Murdoch famously said that being a woman ‘is like being Irish … everyone says you’re important and nice, but you take second place all the time.’

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Jessica Sequeira translates El Quijote

Jessica Sequeira translates El Quijote

Perhaps it seems obvious to you, dear reader, that a professor like myself, established in the academic world as a specialist in Spanish literature, would attempt a translation of a great work in the language.

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Hannah Pezzack on Amanda Lee Koe

Hannah Pezzack on Amanda Lee Koe

Instead of documenting Singaporean sub/culture in a derivative way, Koe’s stories focus on the mediation of identity, space and time.

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Invited to the Best Parties

Invited to the Best Parties

We all know that a book can change the shape of history. Think The Communist Manifesto and Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, not to mention the Bible and the Koran. But a book review? How much influence could a book review possibly have?

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“Croatian spin doctors used an age-old pattern”

“Croatian spin doctors used an age-old pattern”

Ethnic labelling is not only incorrect, but simplifies things completely. I have lived in the Netherlands for almost twenty years, and I have a Dutch passport and a fierce loyalty to this society that has left me in peace to do what I know best; write.

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Mars Is Heaven

Mars Is Heaven

At the end of February 2012, I was sitting in a bar in the Chicago Hilton, discussing Ray Bradbury.

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That Group Selfie Moment

That Group Selfie Moment

Earlier this summer, I saw a photo on a lifestyle blog of three women by a pool, drinking rosé. They are taking a group selfie — one woman’s arm is extended, holding a black iPhone

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Plath’s (Blessed, Excellent) Doctors

Plath’s (Blessed, Excellent) Doctors

When Plath moved from Devon back to London in the late autumn, one of the things that seemed to thrill her most was the easy access to medical care.

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Was Virgil commissioned by Augustus to write the Aeneid?

Was Virgil commissioned by Augustus to write the Aeneid?

The tactic of alluding to an idealised point in the past, embodying all of a country’s best values, while glossing over times of hardship, is nothing new. In fact it’s as old as the hills, and at least as old as the seven hills of Ancient Rome.

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Virginia Woolf on Daniel Defoe

Virginia Woolf on Daniel Defoe

One way of approaching Robinson Crusoe is through the development of the novel; but another immediately suggests itself--through the life of the author.

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Andre Gerard: A Meredithian Reading of To the Lighthouse

Andre Gerard: A Meredithian Reading of To the Lighthouse

George Meredith as caricatured by Max Beerbohm in Vanity Fair, September 1896 by Andre Gerard I hope that, like me, you enjoy reading other people’s letters, as this essay depends heavily on personal correspondence. By means of letters I want to make a case that the conception of Mr....

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Michael Hoak: My Yard/My Life

Michael Hoak: My Yard/My Life

Yard work is never ending. We have a lot of concrete in our back yard, it’s cracked and uneven and we always trip on it. I hate it. Yesterday I dug up concrete with a big sledge hammer and a pry bar.

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‘Humans survive through an intricate logic of interdependence’

‘Humans survive through an intricate logic of interdependence’

Octavia Butler’s tenth novel, “Parable of the Sower,” which was published in 1993, opens in Los Angeles in 2024. Global warming has brought drought and rising seawater...

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Nest Fling

Nest Fling

What are we when we become mothers? We may not ever be fully ourselves again, but that’s because our selves have blurred into looser but more schematic ways of being—ways of being that are communitarian, multiple, and endlessly dissolvable.

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