James Lasdun

James Lasdun would welcome any information on Baron Maurice de Hirsch.

Fishing for Potatoes: Nissan Rogue

James Lasdun, 27 January 2022

Late​ in the evening on 29 December 2019, two men posing as musicians wheeled a pair of large audio equipment cases to the gate reserved for private jet passengers at Osaka’s international airport. The cases were too big for the regular X-ray machines, and the airport staff, no doubt exhausted from a long day processing holiday travellers, waved the men and their cargo through. Out on...

The plot​ sounds like Joseph Roth at his most cynically extravagant: a demobbed soldier, down on his luck, has a chance meeting with a political agitator on the rise, and the two forge an alliance that propels the soldier onto the world stage. He marries a rich American opera singer, governs an African colony, conducts an epic legal battle with the Vatican, embroils himself in the darkest...

Bats on the Ceiling: The Gospel of St Karen

James Lasdun, 24 September 2020

The​ Tenth International Congress of Coptic Studies was held in September 2012 at the headquarters of the Order of St Augustine in Rome. Among the speakers was Karen King, the first woman to hold the Hollis Professorship of Divinity, Harvard’s oldest endowed chair. King had made her name as an interpreter and champion of early Christian texts that asserted the spiritual authority of...

Beyond​ a few tabloid stories, the Westboro Baptist Church didn’t really hit the news until 2005, when its members started picketing funerals of soldiers killed in the Iraq War, with signs declaring GOD HATES FAGS, THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS, THANK GOD FOR IED’S and THANK GOD FOR AIDS. The combination of homophobia and anti-military sentiment was puzzling, but once you learned...

Extreme Gothic Americana

James Lasdun, 6 June 2019

In August 1970​ Mary Lou Maxwell, a seamstress married to a Reverend Willie Maxwell, was found beaten and strangled to death in her Ford Fairlane on a quiet road near her home outside Alexander City, Alabama. The reverend, who had purchased several life insurance policies on his wife, was tried for her murder but acquitted after their neighbour, Dorcas Anderson, recanted some earlier...

I’ll have to kill you: ‘The Fall Guy’

J. Robert Lennon, 20 April 2017

It isn’t until​ the halfway point of The Fall Guy, James Lasdun’s thrillerish new novel, that we are treated to its first overtly criminal act: breaking and entering. This book is...

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Internet-Enabled: Stalking James Lasdun

Nick Richardson, 25 April 2013

How do you feel about someone who loves you but wants to ‘ruin’ you; who massages your ego as she damages your career?

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‘A woman threw her glass of wine at me,’ James Lasdun’s second novel begins. At a party held by a wealthy philanthropist in New York, a woman walks up to the narrator and asks:...

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At the beginning of James Lasdun’s novel, Lawrence Miller, a professor of gender studies at a college on the outskirts of New York, is interrupted while reading a book. When he returns to...

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Getting on

Humphrey Carpenter, 18 July 1985

‘My idea of what a novelist should do is an old-fashioned one,’ says a character in the title story in Isabel Colegate’s collection A Glimpse of Sion’s Glory. ‘I...

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