Berfrois

‘What I did in life, I did with books’

‘What I did in life, I did with books’

I’ve always been aware of being an inconsistent personality. Of having a lot of contradictory voices knocking around my head. As a kid, I was ashamed of it.

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Portrait of a Londoner

Portrait of a Londoner

Nobody can be said to know London who does not know one true cockney - who cannot turn down a side street, away from the shops and the theatres, and knock at a private door in a street of private houses.

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“my right arm hurts so much”

“my right arm hurts so much”

Last summer, I woke up one morning to find my right hand couldn’t grab the doorknob to turn it open. The next thing I knew was that no matter how many times I shook it, it remained numb.

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Wright From the Bottle

Wright From the Bottle

The decades of near-silence that came in the wake of Charles Wright’s trilogy of short novels seem almost as aberrant and disquieting as the novels themselves.

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Pia Ghosh-Roy: The Wingspan of a Moth

Pia Ghosh-Roy: The Wingspan of a Moth

The moth is blackish-brown, as nondescript as a Tuesday. But it is not a Tuesday, it is a Friday. I see the moth on the windowpane as I’m about to leave for work...

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Leon Craig Reviews Berfrois: The Book and Queen Mobs Teahouse: Teh Book

Leon Craig Reviews Berfrois: The Book and Queen Mobs Teahouse: Teh Book

Anyone who thinks fiction and poetry are dying art forms needs to stay at home and get online more. As Russell Bennetts wrote in The Digital Critic ‘the revolution might not be televised...

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Natalie Lawrence on the Minotaur

Natalie Lawrence on the Minotaur

It all started on the shores of Crete, when the waves parted in a swirling, foaming mass and a bull emerged, crocus white and docile as a dove, with horns like polished olive branches.

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‘Experiment, symbols, allegory: reviewers don’t often like them’

‘Experiment, symbols, allegory: reviewers don’t often like them’

What reviews have in common is that they must all in some degree be re-creations: reshapings of what the novelist has already shaped.

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Follow Caroline Calloway?

Follow Caroline Calloway?

When I was a sophomore in college, I took a creative-nonfiction workshop and met a girl who was everything I wasn’t. The point of the class was to learn to write your own story...

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Eric D. Lehman on Key West

Eric D. Lehman on Key West

by Eric D. Lehman It is in Key West I first decide to become anonymous. In an age when everyone was constantly signaling their existences, I would turn out the lights, disappear into the background of the painting, unplug from the matrix of the modern world. I would unbecome....

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Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #9

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #9

Karen—hurt and vengeful and angry to see herself depicted in Sarah’s novel as a weird, flattened, stereotype of herself—has come to the reading hoping to “bump” the turntable...

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Jessica Sequeira on Zenaida Suárez

Jessica Sequeira on Zenaida Suárez

La Nueva Novela  is a challenge starting from its title. Neither new nor a novel—putting it firmly in a line of puzzling Chilean monikers like Isla Negra...

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Eli S. Evans: Double Bind

Eli S. Evans: Double Bind

So let us suppose for a moment that we (whoever we happens to be) were indeed able to put our politics aside, thus creating the necessary conditions, according to this detectably emotional woman...

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Sylvia Warren reviews Berfrois: The Book

Sylvia Warren reviews Berfrois: The Book

Anthologies are a strange and somewhat unreliable form. They can lack the direction that comes from a thematic collection, or the unity of voice that a single author (or translator) can provide.

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‘They very vocally disagreed about what was legitimately steamy’

‘They very vocally disagreed about what was legitimately steamy’

The erotic passages were a struggle to write at first. They each submitted anonymous versions of the book’s first sex scene, an approach they later described as “you show me yours and I’ll show you mine,” but they quickly figured out who had written what...

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Marti Leimbach: The Anti-Fans

Marti Leimbach: The Anti-Fans

Writers are used to rejection and criticism, if only because the ones who can’t cope with it stop being writers early on. We have in common, too, a feeling of celebration whenever we hear of successful books that were initially turned down by reputable publishers.

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Strawberry Consumption Vessels

Strawberry Consumption Vessels

Cold strawberry soup stimulates honeymooners. So goes the thought in rural France. Medieval botanists believed that strawberries, being many-seeded, aided fertility.

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Making the World Something Beautiful and New

Making the World Something Beautiful and New

In some languages, like Polish, the word for share is the same as the word for divide. It took some time, but finally this did make sense to me.

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Literary Schemes

Literary Schemes

“Mystery, humor, romance, realism, risquéness—nothing is barred.” In 1915, Blue Moon, a new magazine, sought submissions from unpublished writers. They already had two stories from “a new and original humorist” whom the editor, Alexander Jessup, had “discovered laying tin roofs in a village in central Indiana.”

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Beloved Toni Morrison

Beloved Toni Morrison

What I cherish most about Toni Morrison’s work is the way that she used the English language: to its fullest, across its entire range.

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A Catalogue of Sins in the 20th Century

A Catalogue of Sins in the 20th Century

As a citizen in North America, I have done these things unthinkingly in many cases and knowingly in others, but still I have committed these sins and continue to commit them.

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