Berfrois

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 room, the windows closed against the…

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Uso

Our lives of jugs, and pots and plates…

Our lives of jugs, and pots and plates…

“The important thing is not what we write,” Joyce tells Arthur Power in Conversations with James Joyce, “but how we write, and in my opinion the modern writer must be an adventurer above all, willing to take every risk, and be prepared to founder in his effort if need...

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What exactly happened, between 1970 and 1998, to Shulamith Firestone?

What exactly happened, between 1970 and 1998, to Shulamith Firestone?

Shulamith Firestone by Sianne Ngai Shulamith Firestone’s Airless Spaces (1998) has been sitting in one of my bookcases since 2000. I bought the postcard-sized Semiotext(e) book mostly out of surprise from seeing the name of its author in print: one I realized I hadn’t seen for a very long...

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Nymphets Become Nymphs

Nymphets Become Nymphs

When in 1996 Hafid Bouazza published his debut collection of short stories De voeten van Abdullah, it caused quite a stir. Besides the obvious literary qualities of the collection, it was the author’s background that so excited its readers. Hafid Bouazza, born in Morocco, the son of one of...

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Dickens the Inimitable

Dickens the Inimitable

Charles Dickens, by Charles Baugniet, 1858. From The New York Review of Books: Is Dickens the greatest of English novelists? Few would contest that he is the most English of great English novelists, and that his most accomplished novels—Bleak House, Great Expectations, Little Dorrit, Dombey and Son, Our Mutual...

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Kafka must end in the inexplicable…

Kafka must end in the inexplicable…

Franz Kafka From The Times Literary Supplement: Stanley Corngold seems to have established himself as the doyen of American Kafkaists. Ruth V. Gross’s preface to Kafka for the Twenty-First Century, co-edited with Corngold, sets the tone. The idea, she explains, was “to assemble a number of distinguished Kafka researchers...

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18/14

18/14

“Seferis, Seferis. Do we have him? Is he one of ours?” (eínai se mas) shouts the clerk to a colleague sipping a frappé at a desk across the room. Fani Papageorgiou and I are negotiating the labyrinthine bureaucracy of death at some lesser Ministry of the Underworld.

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The Deaths of a Tax Accountant by Jarrod Dunham

The Deaths of a Tax Accountant by Jarrod Dunham

“Writing is the destruction of every voice, of every point of origin”, Roland Barthes wrote in his 1967 essay “The Death of the Author”. Barthes, an author himself, was of course not speaking literally. And yet, the literal death of an author – the 2008 suicide of David Foster...

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Thomas Heise: Unnatural as the Boom

Thomas Heise: Unnatural as the Boom

Among our canonical twentieth-century writers, none suffered this pronouncement—one avoids labeling it a fate—more than F. Scott Fitzgerald. At what should have been the height of his novelistic powers in the mid 1930s, he was listless, reckless in his personal affairs, sick with tuberculosis and jaw-droppingly drunk. As Fitzgerald...

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Consider Gina and Belinda

Consider Gina and Belinda

Little Christer, 1955 From The Smart Set: In this small but engaging show, Strömholm documents these women’s lives in public and private. He gives us intimate scenes from inside drab hotel rooms and claustrophobic bathrooms, where the women stare at the camera through their reflections in the mirror, a double...

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Imagine Your Audience

Imagine Your Audience

Le corps de ma brune puisque je l’aime comme ma chatte habillée en vert salade comme de la grêle c’est pareil, Joan Miró, 1925 From Poetry: I may not know what reviews are for, but I know who they are for: their readers. And it behooves reviewers to keep...

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Her story is not only about a receptionist…

Her story is not only about a receptionist…

Janet Groth at The New Yorker. Via by Joe Linker The Receptionist: An Education at The New Yorker, by Janet Groth, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 229 pp. The receptionist receives. Receives what? An education, a memoir. One purpose of a memoir, a narrative of memory, might be to...

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Chip’s Permanency

Chip’s Permanency

Heavenly Breakfast (1979) is a confessedly idealized account of a Lower East Side Manhattan commune that lasted through the winter of 1967-1968 -- Delany writes, “At the Breakfast I learned to move within the circle of other people's desire, and be at ease as I generated my own. And...

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Suzanne Ruta: Photographing Algeria

Suzanne Ruta: Photographing Algeria

by Suzanne Ruta Picturing Algeria, by Pierre Bourdieu, forward by Craig Calhoun. Edited by Franz Schultheis and Christine Frisinghelli, Columbia University Press, 230 pp. Algeria, by Dirk Alvermann, Facsimile edition of a work first published in 1960. Steidl, Germany 2011 In 2004, just around the time the Abu Ghraib...

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For. Us.

For. Us.

by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei It is not my intention to offer the following notes pertaining to one part of the series Narration d’équilibre , written by the poet, translator, photographer, encyclopedist, and radio maker Jean Daive (1941), as a meticulous overview of the different themes,...

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A Kafka Doctor

A Kafka Doctor

The Laurenziberg, Prague From London Review of Books: I am guilty of an association of ideas; or rather: I am guilty – that’s a given, and in casting about for the source of my guilt I find I cannot prevent myself from linking one idea with another purely on...

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Mapping Hidden Space

Mapping Hidden Space

In Pynchon's 2006 novel Against the Day, characters rove all over the known world and, indeed, beyond, discovering hidden realms and involving themselves in political conflicts, obscure mysticisms and mathematical debates. Given its vast scope, the novel may, as Christopher Leise contends, require "more lamps than most to illuminate...

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‘Not all the British visitors were philistines’

‘Not all the British visitors were philistines’

In the first half of the 19th century, the British began to discover Normandy. Previously, the point of entry into France for most travellers had been Calais, which felt safely half-English, and where even the beggars importuned new arrivals in their own language. Those prepared to make the longer...

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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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