They’ve Got Their Little Lists

Posted on by David Gelber

I pick up a new novel by Lucy Ellmann with high hopes, expecting to be entertained and savaged in equal measure. On the strength of two previous novels – Sweet Desserts and Varying Degrees of Hopelessness – she has established herself as a novelist with lots to say and a uniquely personal way of saying […]

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Aussie Robin Hood

Posted on by David Gelber

You are too young to understand a word I write, dear daughter, but this review is for you. I’ve never written to you like this, and I’m doing so now only because Carey’s novel has set me thinking about the relationship between father and child. His book, you see, takes the form of an address […]

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All That Bla Bla Bla

Posted on by David Gelber

Burning Patience is an energetic, charmingly ribald folk-like tale, the third novel by expatriate Chileno, Antonio Skármeta. Set in a small Chilean fishing village, it is the story of the village postboy’s passion for the local bartender’s nubile daughter. To woo his Beatriz, Mario enlists the aid of the village’s most illustrious inhabitant (the only […]

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Posted on by Tom Fleming

Richard Ford’s hugely successful 1985 novel, The Sportswriter, was a sprawling work which left few doubting the author’s skill and intelligence. It also must have caused many to wonder about his ability to rein that talent into a manageable, cogent narrative form. With his new novel Ford should lay such doubts to rest. It is […]

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Yukky Yuppie Porn

Posted on by David Gelber

Bret Easton Ellis and his mates Tama Janowitz, Jay McInerney – the so-called literary ‘bratpack’ – established themselves in the Eighties by writing about smug yuppie trash at a time when everyone wanted to hear about smug yuppie trash. But yuppies, as everybody knows, have disappeared (or at least articles about them have, which is […]

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People’s Republic of Rock ’n’ Roll

Posted on by David Gelber

It is 17 years since Pynchon’s last novel, Gravity’s Rainbow, a work of dizzying opulence and grandeur, so there is cause for a little contained excitement. The setting is Northern California in 1984, a landscape of shopping malls and Burger Kings, designer cocktails and crank astrologists, a lawn-care service called The Marquis de Sod (‘’E’ll […]

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In The What?

Posted on by David Gelber

From its opening sentences Susanna Moore’s new novel alerts the reader to its possibilities: I don’t usually go to a bar with one of my students. It is almost always a mistake. But Cornelius was having trouble with irony. For a cop book, which at its basest level this is, that is pretty good. This […]

A Secret Interloper in the House

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

After the publication of Underworld, Don DeLillo confessed in an interview to being a bit of an Italian show–off. He was talking about his style, but The Body Artist shows off something else: his extraordinary range of mood. It is a long way from the hilarious White Noise via the luxuriant Underworld to this gaunt, […]

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How to Stay Together

Posted on by Marketing Manager

Tereza is a nice Polish Catholic poet who has come to New York University to study literature. Jose is a ‘roughly handsome’ Brazilian anthropologist, also Catholic, who has come to the same university to research a book on the theological debate provoked by the 1972 Andes air crash survivors who ate their dead fellow passengers […]

You Are Left Tingling

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

It is not easy to sum up the particular quality of Margaret Atwood’s short stories, because they do everything. They have irresistible ‘read-on’ opening lines: ‘Julie broke up with Connor in the middle of a swamp…’; ‘When she was nearly five, Susanna did a tap dance on a cheese box…’ They develop with the most […]

They All Love Simon

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

  Lovers of lost causes will delight in the latest Marquez, a historical novel in which Mr Magical Realism has jettisoned the fantastic trappings of his early books in favour of facts. These are not just any facts, of course: his subject, South America’s liberating hero General Simon Bolivar, belongs to the shady territory between […]

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Oy-oy-oy! Czech Mate

Posted on by Tom Fleming

We have to be careful about foreign reality. Debutant British critics, keen to show the visas on their passports, like to overpraise the luxuriant imaginings of exotic writers while diminishing the scrubby, arid little fancyings of their UK counterparts. But the disparity is often not one of imagination at all. Here is Gabriel García Marquez, […]

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