It is just fifty years since a young Middle Westerner, who had been persuaded to go to Princeton by reading Scott Fitzgerald, first arrived in Moscow as an attaché in the newly opened American embassy there. He was already unusually well-equipped to investigate the mysteries of Soviet society. An older cousin – also called George Kennan – had travelled widely in Tzarist Russia and had written about the Siberian exile camps and the pogroms inflicted on the Jews. Young George Kennan himself had already spent five years learning Russian and peering over the fence into Soviet Russia from the then still independent Baltic States.
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'She must pretend to be a walking companion, observe without being noticed and paint the subject from memory, in secret. It's a superb metaphor for the female artist, hidden from history.'
@nclarke14 ponders the resonance of 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire'.
'And there in the evening the bride and the gamekeeper
Wait with their faces averted, wait
For the signal to shift and the lamp to glow red
And a train to arrive, but not yet and not yet.'
'It Says Here', from Sean O'Brien's upcoming collection.
Everyone must have been queueing up to review the new Craig Brown Beatles book, which is obviously brilliant – but kudos to @Lit_Review and @DrDominicGreen for conspiring to bring us this bravura reviewing performance (free to read)