From caravan outpost to the world’s oil capital: this was the fate of Baku (Azerbaijan) in the late nineteenth century, a transformation which took not much more than one generation. The sudden accretion of wealth and prominence gave rise to a profusion of extravagant characters as well as notable buildings – mosques, Zoroastrian temples, casinos, Moorish palaces, theatres, rococo pavilions, and palace gardens. In strictly human terms, oil-rich Baku spawned no more extravagant personality than Lev Nussimbaum, aka Essad Bey, aka Kurban Said. He was born into a wealthy Russian-Jewish family and developed into a picaresque man of letters, historian and political analyst, whose life was intertwined with some of the most vital elements in twentieth-century culture.
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In Ali Smith's "Summer", 'the coronavirus pandemic has arrived. Lockdown happens too. There are allusions to Black Lives Matter, to online abuse and radicalisation, to things so recently news that it feels shocking to find them in a novel.'
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Alan Taylor looks at the greatest novels never written.
Our pre-publication copies of #OneLoveChigusa by #SojiShimada have just arrived! An homage to Osamu Tezuka from #Japan’sManOfMystery
- trans by Sir David Warren (former UK ambassador to Japan). The 6th title in the #RedCircleMinis series. Pub date: 6/08/20 #島田荘司 #手塚治虫