LRB Cover
Volume 36 No 20
23 October 2014

LRB blog 24 October 2014

Inigo Thomas
Fungal Forays

24 October 2014

Rory McCarthy
In Tunisia

22 October 2014

Oscar Webb
Among the Developers


17 July 2008

John Lanchester
New Labour’s Terrible Memoirs

4 October 2001

11 September

10 May 2007

Perry Anderson
The Inglorious Career of Kofi Annan

In the next issue, which will be dated 6 November, James Salter on American airmen in the First World War; Iain Sinclair on cinema-going; Juliet Mitchell on Louise Bourgeois.


Friday 31 October at 7.00 P.M.

Tomás González

Tuesday 4 November at 7.00 P.M.

Some Luck: Jane Smiley

Wednesday 5 November at 6.00 P.M.

November Customer Evening

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Michael Hofmann

Amis in Auschwitz

I read The Zone of Interest straight through twice from beginning to end and it feels like I’ve read nothing at all. I could read it again, if I thought it would make any difference. Perhaps in some strange way it’s a compliment to the book – this love story set among Germans in Auschwitz: good idea? waiting world? story whose time has come? yes? – or to its calculation, its finely calibrated scales, that what survives of it is (pace Larkin) nothing. That nothing finally preponderates, no sensation remains, no vision, no synthesis, no understanding. More

Paul Farmer


I have just returned from Liberia with a group of physicians and health activists. We are heading back in a few days. The country is in the midst of the largest ever epidemic of Ebola haemorrhagic fever. It’s an acute and brutal affliction. Ebola is a zoonosis – it leaps from animal hosts to humans – which is caused by a filovirus (a thread-like virus that causes internal and external bleeding). It was first described in 1976 in rural Congo, not far from the Ebola River, as an acute-onset syndrome characterised by complaints of weakness, followed by fever and abdominal pain. More

Owen Hatherley

The Neo-Elite

Part of what makes Owen Jones such a phenomenally successful figure by left-of-Labour standards is his ability to be several things at once. He is both insider, reporting back to ‘us’ about what ‘they’ think, and outsider, as shocked and angry about it as ‘we’ might be. He was brought up in Sheffield, Falkirk and Stockport and speaks in a sharp Mancunian accent, but he is also an Oxford graduate, with all the connections that can entail. He has Westminster experience as a parliamentary researcher, but to John McDonnell. More

Adam Shatz


Africa, it’s said, is the mother of modern civilisation, but it’s probably more accurate to say that Congo is. Consider your mobile phone. Before it was assembled in a Chinese factory, the coltan in its capacitors may have been dug by miners in the Eastern Congo, where millions have died in a series of wars over ‘conflict minerals’, though we give this no more thought than previous generations of Westerners gave to the Congolese origins of the ivory in their piano keys, the rubber in their tyres, the copper in their bullet casings or the uranium in their bombs. More

Short Cuts
Francis FitzGibbon

At the V&A
Rosemary Hill

At the Movies
Michael Wood


Robert Wade

The Economic Occupation of the West Bank

The restrictions are so pervasive and systematic that it almost seems as if the Israeli state has mapped the entire Palestinian economy in terms of input-output relations, right down to the capillary level of the individual, the household, the small firm, the large firm, the school, the university, so as to find all possible choke points, which Israeli officials can tighten or loosen at will. Under these circumstances – which I’m happy to say I have never encountered elsewhere – political and economic development is barely possible. More