"I’ve always written short stories, I’ve always been interested in the form being dictated by the concept, rather than the other way round." Jon McGregor
Posts tagged "WWII"
Lives in black and white

Lives in black and white

If we seek truths, we should look into fairy tales; at least this seems to be Meike Ziervogel’s advice, as she begins her novel with the all-familiar “Once upon a time…” It is still hard for Germany to search for truths, the many sore, dark, unspeakable looming truths behind the period of National Socialism, the...
Wraiths of neither good nor evil

Wraiths of neither good nor evil

With the hindsight of history, with the raw, stinging feeling on the skin of one’s conscience of the viciousness and harrowing desolation that was spawned by Nazi rule and WWII, it may seem that there was for Germany a distinct separation between a brutal, all-obliterating moment of total guilt and a redeeming ‘moment after’ of...
Maps and the 20th century: drawing the line

Maps and the 20th century: drawing the line

From questions of war and peace to understanding the movements of people, nature and even the financial markets, the new exhibition at the British Library, Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line, explores how maps have become increasingly present in daily life. The exhibition looks at the spectacular advances in the technology of mapping...
Waves of joy and doubt

Waves of joy and doubt

During the Second World War Astrid Lindgren, creator of Pippi Longstocking, was an aspiring writer living in Stockholm with her family, working in a top secret job at the Swedish Mail Censorship Office. Horrified and fascinated as world events unfolded, she kept a meticulous diary full of newspaper clippings (and occasional snippets from the letters...
Dreamland

Dreamland

No Picnic on Mount Kenya is neither a war memoir nor the travel log of an exotic mountaineering expedition; neither history pure and unimpeachable, nor a novel where the imagination is given free reign; it is neither biography nor documentary. It is, and explosively, all of the above – a grippingly beguiling tale as well...
A genealogy of shadows

A genealogy of shadows

In September 1941, Walter Andreas Hofer, special art agent for Hermann Goering, was breathlessly scouring France for any and all works that might make suitable additions to his employer’s ambitious, almost gargantuan art collection. Far too often for his liking, he found himself in a mightily frustrating predicament: sequestering individual pieces or whole collections from...
Visiting hour

Visiting hour

The hospital room smelled of antiseptic cleaner, but it could not mask the odor of sickness. It was Michael’s eighty-fourth birthday. He did not feel like celebrating. He had just survived a week in the Intensive Care Unit after his kidneys, heart and lungs had failed. When he was moved out of the ICU, the...
War stories for children

War stories for children

“Maybe humans aren’t such a terrible animal after all,” reflects a whale that daydreams about aeroplanes in the sky and fatefully falls in love with a Japanese submarine. As the whale insouciantly navigates the sardine-filled waters of nature, the human sea-routes of warships and submarines and the airways of military planes are rife with death...
Lissa Evans: Laughter in the dark

Lissa Evans: Laughter in the dark

Lissa Evans’ riotously comic Crooked Heart tells the story of bright ten-year-old orphan Noel Bostock, who is evacuated to St Albans from London to escape the Blitz. He is taken under the wing of sharp, unscrupulous Vera Sedge who, as soon as she claps eyes on Noel, hits on a flagrant new way to make...
The power of leaves

The power of leaves

We live in an age of speed, expedience, brief thoughts and long illusions; we relish fast images, swift exchanges of truncated words, and hurried displacement; we rejoice in monumental structures, ideas, endeavours. News, whether of catastrophe or joy, races through our minds or past our eyes like flashes of lightning; we claim to experience life...