Berfrois

Upward Jim

Upward Jim

For all the efforts of the egalitarian left to deny it, the ability to get on, get by (or sometimes only stay put) remains a vital part of the average human experience...

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Mary McCarthy’s Factuality

Mary McCarthy’s Factuality

In the winter of 1960, Mary McCarthy—the writer whom Norman Mailer once described as “our saint, our umpire, our lit arbiter, our broadsword”...

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Joe Linker on Jessica Sequeira

Joe Linker on Jessica Sequeira

by Joe Linker Rhombus and Oval, by Jessica Sequeira, What Books Press, 117 pp. “Rhombus and Oval” is the title of the lead piece in this collection of stories by Jessica Sequeira, a translator of Spanish and French, and a writer. The text of twenty-one stories runs 112 pages, each...

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Hannah Hughes: My Gray City

Hannah Hughes: My Gray City

I was eighteen years old when I was introduced to the fascinating world of Alasdair Gray. I read Poor Things (1992) in the second year of my undergraduate degree at the University of Glasgow,

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Joe Linker on Elif Batuman’s The Idiot

Joe Linker on Elif Batuman’s The Idiot

A tale told by an idiot signifying nothing might benefit from Walter Mosley’s advice in “This Year You Write Your Novel” to avoid first person narration unless you have an enthralling character. Elif Batuman’s The Idiot successfully ignores Mosley’s suggestion.

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“Why wouldn’t you call it a novel?”

“Why wouldn’t you call it a novel?”

Well, it’s actually kind of an accident that I established my career as a nonfiction writer. From childhood I wanted to be a novelist.

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David Beer on Walter Benjamin’s Fiction

David Beer on Walter Benjamin’s Fiction

Main Scene from the Ballet “The False Oath”, Paul Klee, 1922 by David Beer The Storyteller: Tales out of Loneliness, by Walter Benjamin. Translated and introduced by Sam Dolbear, Esther Leslie and Sebastian Truskolaski. Illustrated by Paul Klee. London: Verso Books, 240 pp. Walter Benjamin is full of surprises. This...

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Jessica Sequeira on Rion Amilcar Scott

Jessica Sequeira on Rion Amilcar Scott

At the heart of satire is a stereotype, a simplistic dichotomy, an obvious truth or an unquestioned form ready to be taken to its limits and dismantled.

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Somewhere and Everywhere

Somewhere and Everywhere

Lucy Sprague Mitchell, founder of the Bank Street College of Education, was sick of children’s books. She didn’t want didactic moral tales that told kids what to do, or mythological flights of fancy.

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Own the End

Own the End

Ever since Underworld, the 1997 book that marked the end of his ambitious middle period, Don DeLillo’s novels have been creepy, inconclusive, and short.

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Storia

Storia

Ferrante, in case you haven’t heard, has become an international phenomenon. She has acquired a certain notoriety not only because her writing is very intense.

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Black history has too often been stolen by white narrators…

Black history has too often been stolen by white narrators…

Colson Whitehead’s novels are rebellious creatures: Each one of them goes to great lengths to break free of the last one, of its structure and language, of its areas of interest.

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