"In my experience of writing – and of life – the frenzy of dreams and that of form always go together." Iosi Havilio
On film
Remembering

Remembering

Austin Wright’s sleeper hit Tony & Susan, first published in 1993, received high praise from a new generation of readers and reviewers when it was re-released by Atlantic Books in 2010. Now it’s coming to a cinema near you in Tom Ford’s gripping adaptation Nocturnal Animals, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams. Here’s how it...
The day of reckoning

The day of reckoning

US District Court, Tampa, Florida March 26, 1990 Armed guards led me into a tiny, windowless room in Tampa’s US District Courthouse. Through the glossy mahogany walls came the muffled voices of lawyers arguing and the response of an unruly crowd. On the other side of the door, I was about to do battle with...
Matteo Garrone: Bigger than life

Matteo Garrone: Bigger than life

Matteo Garrone’s latest film, Tale of Tales, is a flamboyantly grisly retelling of three little-known fairy tales collected in the seventeenth century by Neapolitan poet and courtier Giambattista Basile. From the 50 tales in the collection, which includes the earliest – and bawdiest – recorded versions of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Hansel and Gretel, the...
Whit Stillman: All there

Whit Stillman: All there

You’d be forgiven for not exactly jumping with joy at the news that yet another Jane Austen adaptation has hit the big screen. This year alone has seen the release of both Burr Steer’s irreverent and rather dubious Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the publication of Curtis Sittenfeld’s contemporary reimagining of the original, Eligible....
An assignation

An assignation

The Tale of Tales by Giambattista Basile is the first authored collection of literary fairy tales in the Western European canon, predating the work of Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. An inspiration for storytellers from Shakespeare to Calvino, the long-overlooked 17th-century collection includes the oldest known written versions of some of...
Phyllis Nagy: Carol and me

Phyllis Nagy: Carol and me

Carol, starring Cate Blanchett as a wealthy 1950s New York housewife and mother who risks her place in society by embarking on an intense affair with Rooney Mara’s shop girl, is a hot tip for big prizes as the film industry gears up for its annual awards season. The film, directed by Todd Haynes, is...
One moonlit night

One moonlit night

Under a harvest moon FBI agent John Connolly eased his beat-up Plymouth into a parking space along Wollaston Beach. Behind him the water stirred, and further off, the Boston skyline sparkled. The shipbuilding city of Quincy, bordering Boston to the south, was a perfect location for the kind of meeting the agent had in mind....
Shoot the writer

Shoot the writer

As the BFI London Film Festival attracts the focus of the capital’s critics and movie buffs, and superstar actors crowd the red carpets, we spare a thought for the source novels, biographies and fables that inspired some of this year’s most anticipated main features – including a handful of remastered classics. Brooklyn Adapted by Nick...
Abi Morgan gets our vote

Abi Morgan gets our vote

When I was 11 years old, I chose the suffragettes as the topic for one of my first secondary school projects. I’d been vaguely aware of the movement due to a large book that sat on a bookcase in our dining room entitled Shoulder to Shoulder, edited by Midge Mackenzie. The book was a companion...
The cemetery

The cemetery

He had a bad night. On waking, he remembered he was due to follow Madeleine and was mortified by the joy he felt at the prospect. Try as he would, however, he couldn’t rid himself of it. It clung to him, humble but obstinate, like a dog you haven’t the heart to chase away. He...