“I wish I had a more reliable way of figuring out how to write. It’s all just intuition and waking dreams.” – Robbie Arnott
Posts tagged "Contexts"
The best time

The best time

Catriona Ward’s Sundial pushes the boundaries of psychological horror in pleasing ways. The prose is intelligent, highly observed and exquisitely toxic. Nothing is taboo. Children are slapped, dogs shot, the illusion of the perfect family shattered, and sisterly bonds broken. The writing is austere but substantial, the characters extreme but believable, and the settings beautiful...
Stage dive

Stage dive

“The troubadour’s spirit is to not chase anything. You simply go about your business and wait for the world to spin slowly on its axis until eventually it comes back around and finds you – still there, waiting patiently,” writes journalist Nick Duerden in his new book Exit Stage Left: The Curious Afterlife of Pop...
Have you ever met the Greeks? They bear the most vital, wondrous gifts…

Have you ever met the Greeks? They bear the most vital, wondrous gifts…

Nearly two and a half thousand years ago, a very old man slept in a bare prison cell. He was not alone, however. An old friend was watching over him, reluctant to wake him up to the day that would mark the end of his life. It is a cameo of extraordinary tenderness and humanity,...
Trading places, writing stories

Trading places, writing stories

It can be argued that few gestures in the history of humanity can claim to have had such an impact on societal structures, on cultural evolution, and on civilisational encounters as trade. From the first barter exchanges (you had to be ready to meet someone else, and to acknowledge different, mutually complementary needs, in order...
Knowing who the real monsters are

Knowing who the real monsters are

A crucial juncture in world history was the encounter between the Helleno-Judeo-Christian tradition on the one hand, and the new tenets of Islam on the other. It manifested itself with particularly momentous poignancy on the intellectual plane through a single concept, upon which depended almost everything that mattered: the right to existence itself, cultural, national,...
Obama the chameleon

Obama the chameleon

The concept of race has no evidentiary basis in science or the serious study of the natural world, but as a social construction, it has had a powerful impact on the shaping of the modern era. Race has structured hierarchies and relationships within vast empires and between powerful nation-states and subjugated colonies for centuries. Further,...
It takes guts to make good art

It takes guts to make good art

“As for you, the vultures will feast on you!” With these words of visceral triumph (quite literally, since he has just thrust his spear into his fallen opponent’s underbelly), Hector, “preeminent among the war-loving Trojans”, finishes off Patroclus in Book XVI of Homer’s Iliad, but only after the latter had been struck down twice already,...
A mattress

A mattress

My fiction comes from voices; voices that I hear, and then do my best to transcribe. The voice that follows, which comes from the second story in Address Book, turned out to be a really tricky one to get down. Basically, that’s because going back to the 1980s is still very hard for me. There...
Seabirds

Seabirds

Of course I know the seabirds were here first! They’ve had their own registered territories for God knows how many generations, and it’s very clear they must hate us. They do screaming nosedives, beaks wide open. The terns are worst, real warriors, and their aim is perfect when they crap on us. These shimmering white...
Towards an aesthetics of (im)perfection

Towards an aesthetics of (im)perfection

There is a certain aura of myth and legend when it comes to Jane Austen. We think we know so much about her, and at the same time we apparently never tire of being thrilled by the mystery that seems to surround her, from her private life to what is quite simply her writerly genius....
A thousand and one tales of a philosophical life

A thousand and one tales of a philosophical life

What can Hannah Arendt possibly teach us today? What was, and still is one hopes, her indelible imprint on the world, on our humanity, on what she so unwaveringly upheld as civilisation? And who was she? How did she become that singular multitude of perspectives, human facets, existential and conceptual spaces that can certainly lay...
The story of their history

The story of their history

The experience of lost places of belonging, of lost states of existence, together with the tenacity to defy and resist both loss and non-being, are deeply ingrained in the Russian language: thanks to Maxim Gorky, a term such as Бывшие люди, or ‘former people’, would come to acquire an eerily tangible corporeality, reality, and even...