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a literary handout
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  • 06/24/09--16:00: Alejandro Zambra: Bonsai
  • I‘ve mentioned before how lovely Melville House’s Contemporary Art of the Novella series is and have been meaning for some time to read another. Bonsai (2006) by Alejandro Zambra felt like the timely choice, having recently been the focus of… continue reading »

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    The Israeli writer, Etgar Keret, is probably best known for writing short stories, a few collections of which have seen translation. Typically the stories are very short, no more than a few pages, and his collection Missing Kissinger had no… continue reading »

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  • 07/02/09--23:48: A.L. Kennedy: What Becomes
  • A.L. Kennedy is one of Scotland’s greatest contemporary writers who, over the last twenty years, has produced a body of work spanning novels, short stories, non-fiction, screenplays, and more. In recent years she’s been a regular feature in comedy clubs,… continue reading »

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    It’s unfortunate that Roberto Bolaño isn’t around to see his star in the ascendency in the English speaking world, following on from the acclaim given to recent translations, The Savage Detectives and 2666. The English translations began in 2003, the… continue reading »

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    It’s called Scotland’s shame, the sectarianism that has attached itself to Scottish society and festers therein. The absorption of Ireland’s exiles in the nineteenth century saw Catholicism take steps into the country, much to the chagrin of the Protestant ‘indigènes’,… continue reading »

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  • 07/27/09--17:17: Philip Roth: The Breast
  • Having intended, at one time, to read the books of Philip Roth in order of publication, a brick wall was soon hit with second book, Letting Go, Roth’s first novel proper and still his largest to date. It just went… continue reading »

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    Alexander Pope is considered one of England’s greatest poets of the eighteenth century, known for satirical poems as The Rape Of The Lock and the Dunciad. He was a member of the Scriblerus club, along with names like Jonathan Swift… continue reading »

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  • 10/08/09--00:00: Robert Coover: Briar Rose
  • The American writer Robert Coover would appear to be a dot on the landscape of British literary consciousness – I don’t know how well known he is in the States – but a small number of his better known titles,… continue reading »

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    With the impact of recognising Herta Müller as the 2009 Nobel laureate in literature slightly dampened by rising expectations that she would be the recipient I find myself still happy, like last year, that it has went to a writer… continue reading »

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    Science fiction has been in the news a lot these days, most notably with Kim Stanley Robinson’s much publicised criticism about the lack of recognition awarded to the genre by judges of the Man Booker Prize (although it’s likely that… continue reading »

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    In Ichthyology, the opening story of David Vann’s collection, Legend Of A Suicide (2008), there appears a fly that gets stuck in a fishtank and, in its panic, sends off a series of ripples that highlight his predicament. It’s a… continue reading »

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    There is a sense of history from the opening pages of Kressmann Taylor’s Address Unknown (1938), mixing the echoes of the Great War, still vivid in its characters’ memories (“Fourteen years since the war! Did you mark the date? What… continue reading »

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    The longlist for the 2010 Independent Foreign Ficton Prize has been announced, and it’s quite a small press friendly affair. As usual, titles under consideration were those translated works (from a living author) published in the prior year within the… continue reading »

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    “Most crimes are a mystery in the beginning,” says the Public Prosecutor in concluding a press conference discussing a woman’s murder. In this case, it’s a real mystery: a woman’s naked body has been accidentally dredged up from a Swedish… continue reading »

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    The tributes that followed the recent death of David Markson inspired me to pick up one of his novels, something I’d been hesitant about before. Cursory flicks in the book stores had shown that those available were little more than… continue reading »

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    Technology in the early twenty-first century is changing our lives — the way we do tasks; how we interact with friends;  how we meet potential partners. The rise of Big Data, assisted by our willingness to offer up our daily… continue reading »