Joe Dunthorne

Joe Dunthorne’s most recent book is O Positive. His novels include Submarine and Wild Abandon.

Grand Normal Girl: Jane Bowles’s Curse

Joe Dunthorne, 30 March 2023

In 1967​ Jane Bowles was convalescing in a Málaga psychiatric hospital when a friend brought her the reviews of her Collected Works. The book, which carried an introduction by Truman Capote, had finally brought Bowles’s writing to a wider audience than what she called ‘my five hundred goony friends’. Bowles was unable to read the clippings. A stroke had damaged her...

Two Poems

Joe Dunthorne, 2 March 2023

Bad Dreams

As I ease the blade from my father’s chesthe looks surprised – as though opening the curtains

to snow. Remember the Emperor who beheadeda soldier for dreaming of the Emperor

beheaded. After lunch, my father naps, non-fictionslipping from his fingers. When he wakes he blinks

the room to order. He likes to tell my tiny sonthe story of my birth, an ambulance

in snow chains, the...

Diary: Real Me and Fake Me

Joe Dunthorne, 10 February 2022

Dostoevsky’sThe Double tells the story of Yakov Golyadkin, whose life is destroyed by the arrival of someone who looks identical to him but is far more charming and likeable. Gradually Yakov finds that his double has stolen his friends and replaced him at work, and that he is generally doing a much better job of being Yakov than Yakov ever could. When Yakov attempts to reclaim his...

Diary: A Branching Story

Joe Dunthorne, 1 July 2021

OnChristmas Day in 1992, my parents gave me a computer game. The game was called Turrican II: The Final Fight and I knew from reading recent copies of Zzap!64 magazine that it was regarded as the crowning achievement of Manfred Trenz, the greatest programmer of his generation. Saying Trenz’s name out loud in the playground could cause sun-deprived children to stop still and give...

There​ are few suicide notes more ecstatic than those of Heinrich von Kleist and Henriette Vogel, who died together on 21 November 1811. ‘May heaven grant you a death even half as joyous and inexpressibly cheerful as mine,’ Kleist wrote to his sister. He was ‘blissfully happy’, he told his cousin, and looking forward to this ‘most splendid and pleasurable of...

The Adulterants​ is a very funny comedy of arrested development: a coming-of-age novel in which the main character is 33. Ray Morris is a shallow, infantile narcissist reluctantly facing the...

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