Elizabeth Lowry

Elizabeth Lowry’s novel The Bellini Madonna was published in 2008.

‘How​ was I supposed to live in America when I had never really left Ethiopia?’ the immigrant Sepha Stephanos asks in Dinaw Mengestu’s first novel, Children of the Revolution (2007). Mengestu is himself an Ethiopian-American, having settled in the US with his family at the age of two. His second novel, How to Read the Air (2010), revisited the same question in the figure...

Diversiddy: Binyavanga Wainaina

Elizabeth Lowry, 23 February 2012

In 2005 the Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina, then living in Norwich, wrote a blisteringly satirical essay on ‘How to Write about Africa’. He was responding to Granta’s Africa issue, which he hated, as he later explained, for being ‘populated by every literary bogeyman that any African has ever known’. The issue offered ‘nothing new, no insight, but lots...

Whose Bodies? ‘Tinkers’

Elizabeth Lowry, 23 September 2010

George Crosby, the hero of Paul Harding’s Pulitzer Prize-winning first novel, Tinkers, has been laid out to die on a rented hospital bed in his living-room, surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren. He is 80, a retired teacher and clock repairer, and is suffering from cancer and renal failure. In the last week of his life he begins to hallucinate about his childhood in rural...

Montaigne had his own literary stalker. Eight years after the Essays first appeared in 1580, he received a breathless letter from a young woman called Marie le Jars de Gournay, who declared herself an ardent admirer of his work. Intrigued, he arranged to meet her. We don’t know what the Demoiselle de Gournay said to Montaigne, and in her new novel about their vexed relationship, Jenny...

The Fishman lives the lore: Carpentaria

Elizabeth Lowry, 24 April 2008

Nine hours’ drive east of Darwin, where the Northern Territory of Australia and Queensland meet, you will find the Gulf of Carpentaria, the sea that separates the top lip of the continent from New Guinea. The surrounding area features in tourist brochures as part of a rugged ‘real Australia’, home to cattle farming, barramundi fishing, a thriving mining industry, a national...

Are there too many novels about missing Old Masters? Anyone who reads Jason Goodwin’s The Bellini Card might be forgiven for thinking so. It’s about a search for a portrait of Mehmet...

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