Alex Harvey

Alex Harvey is working on a film about Satjayit Ray and Kolkata.

Chairs look at me: ‘Sojourn’

Alex Harvey, 30 November 2023

Amit Chaudhuri​ visited Europe for the first time at the age of eleven. In 1973 the world felt steady; it had ‘a kind of wholeness to it’. The co-existence of capitalism and communism seemed permanent. Forty years later, visiting Berlin, he felt the need ‘to grasp fleetingly, what one had lost’. He had grown up in non-aligned India, which balanced democratic...

When​ Jean-Patrick Manchette was asked about his first encounter with detective fiction, he mentioned a scene from Black Wings Has My Angel by the American writer Elliott Chaze. Originally published in 1953, this obscure lovers-on-the-run thriller was only available, until recently, in French translation.*

She was sitting on the floor, naked, in a skitter of green bills … scooping up...

Corporate Imposter

Alex Harvey, 4 February 2021

Death​ was Denis Johnson’s subject: the already dead, the dying but not yet dead and the rush of life in its last seconds. In Angels (1983), his first novel, Johnson describes his protagonist’s final moments. Bill Houston, a petty criminal and heavy drinker, is facing the death penalty after killing a security guard:

He felt he could hold his breath for ever – no problem....

Scott Fitzgerald​ spent his declining years in ‘a hideous town, pointed up by the insulting gardens of its rich, full of the human spirit at a new low of debasement’. Hollywood, he complained in 1940, was ‘a dump, in the human sense of the word. Everywhere there is … either corruption or indifference.’ He used to wear a dark topcoat and homburg; ‘his...

In her memoir​ Kiss Hollywood Goodbye Anita Loos recalls her friend Aldous Huxley’s ‘childish love for picnics’. One excursion he organised ‘might have taken place in Alice in Wonderland’. Huxley had gathered a choice selection of his Californian friends: Charlie Chaplin and his wife, Paulette Goddard, dressed ‘in a Mexican peasant outfit’;...

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