Sarah Rigby

Sarah Rigby edited Patricia Beer’s As I Was Saying Yesterday: Selected Essays and Reviews, published by Carcanet. Some years ago she worked for this paper: now she lives in New York City.

So Amused: Fay Weldon

Sarah Rigby, 11 July 2002

There is an unusual emphasis on ghosts in Fay Weldon’s autobiography. Early on, angels appear to her mother in the local park; a woman in white sits on the six-year-old Weldon’s bed; and ghosts unaccountably darken the rooms at her New Zealand high school (a sort of advance haunting, she now thinks, by the woman who was to be killed nearby in the murder dramatised in the film

Bodily Speaking: Zoë Heller

Sarah Rigby, 29 July 1999

Willy Muller, the 50-year-old narrator of Everything You Know, confides at the beginning of the novel that he doesn’t understand his girlfriend’s attachment to him. He treats her badly, but she won’t be shaken off. ‘Her stoicism would be understandable if I had money or charm or an enormous penis,’ he says. ‘But I have none of these things. It’s odd.’‘

Simon Wessely (Letters, 17 September) now claims that he sees a distinction between ME and CFS, two years after his instrumental role in the Royal Colleges committee whose final report specifically (and, many felt, inappropriately) recommended that ‘ME’ should be renamed ‘CFS’. Even if he now makes a distinction between the two terms, he certainly did not do so in his Guardian article, on which...

Diary: ME

Sarah Rigby, 20 August 1998

Last week I walked home from Shepherd’s Bush Green. It isn’t far – people who come to visit say it takes them about ten minutes – but it felt like a considerable achievement. I haven’t been able to walk that far since I’ve lived in this part of London. It wasn’t just that I could cover the distance – at a push I could have done that six months ago – but I didn’t have any pain in the days which followed, which was an indication of how much I’ve improved. Two years ago, when I first moved here, I couldn’t comfortably walk from one room of my flat to another, and when I tried to ignore the pain and go further, it always got worse.’

Mind’s Eye: Beryl Bainbridge

Sarah Rigby, 4 June 1998

All through Beryl Bainbridge’s latest novel, characters dwell on chance and fate, and the string of coincidences that link their lives. These aren’t new preoccupations for Bainbridge; one of the striking things about her earlier novels was the rather ambivalent way in which chance was used. There were random, grotesque accidents and sudden deaths, involving incidental characters who had no relevance to the plot until the moment of their intrusion into the narrative – a boy tripping forward into a pane of glass and dying instantly on the pavement (An Awfully Big Adventure); an unknown man staggering towards the narrator, to die in his arms (Every Man for Himself). Sometimes these episodes turned out to be significant; sometimes they were allowed to drop away altogether. In the same way, remarkable coincidences surfaced, but they tended to be unimportant or related to the past. Characters ascribed them to the workings of God or, having failed to explain them, decided they must be purely random.’

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