“Deep curiosity, deep listening, that’s what we have to give to each other. Reading is a form of deep listening, isn’t it? Staying with something, and being affected by it." Maggie Gee
Posts tagged "review"
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...
One man's trash

One man’s trash

Pick up your average celebrity memoir and you’re almost certain to find it dressed up in one of two ways. Some stars punctuate their life stories with matt black-and-white photos, neatly arranged over chapter headings or between sections. The more sensationalist among them choose the ‘16-Page Full-Colour Insert!’ (capitals and exclamation mark mandatory), helpfully collating...
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,...
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,...
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...