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Zimbabwe is kenge

J.D.F. Jones, 7 July 1983

Under the Skin 
by David Caute.
Allen Lane, 447 pp., £14.95, February 1983, 0 7139 1357 6
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The K-Factor 
by David Caute.
Joseph, 216 pp., £8.95, May 1983, 0 7181 2260 7
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... school-children wearing ‘bashers’ (panama hats) in the streets of Harare are black as well as white. State television urges us ‘Towards a New Social Order’ where previously stern-faced white women would lecture us about security. (South Africa is invariably on Zimbabwean television described as ‘racist’, which ...

Giving Hysteria a Bad Name

Jenny Diski: At home with the Mellys, 17 November 2005

Take a Girl like Me: Life with George 
by Diana Melly.
Chatto, 280 pp., £14.99, July 2005, 0 7011 7906 6
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Slowing Down 
by George Melly.
Viking, 221 pp., £17.99, October 2005, 0 670 91409 6
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... to deserve the contempt of others. Explaining the way of the disciple taking the Path of Blame, Patrick Laude (a professor at Georgetown University and writer on Sufism) suggests that a typical malamati would eagerly confess along with Hamlet: ‘I am myself indifferent honest, but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not ...

Astride a White Horse

Declan Kiberd: Bridget Clearly, 6 January 2000

The Burning of Bridget Cleary: A True Story 
by Angela Bourke.
Pimlico, 240 pp., £10, August 1999, 0 7126 6590 0
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... to have been built on a fairy-mound. Undaunted, they moved in, along with Bridget’s father, Patrick Boland, a landless labourer who must have taken pride in the improvement to his family’s fortunes. All that was lacking was a child to bless the happy union. The weather in March was bitter and Bridget fell ill. She had been on a visit to her father’s ...

An American Genius

Patrick Parrinder, 21 November 1991

The Runaway Soul 
by Harold Brodkey.
Cape, 835 pp., £15.99, November 1991, 0 224 03001 9
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... truth is, of course, that the GAN had long been written – for what is Moby Dick if not the Great White Whale as put down on paper by the Great White Male? But it suited everyone to disregard this fact. Today, with the dubious and decadent exception of Thomas Pynchon, there are no longer any ...

Two Poems

Stephen Knight, 5 May 2005

... or lifts a wristwatch to his ear then sighs before a table laid with shiny cutlery and a cloth so white it seems to generate its own light. The napkins’ beautiful, useless folds. The Summer of Love of Patrick Troughton’s puckish Dr Who of the dark-wood-and-mullion-doored bureau and the coal bunker, dwarfed by my ...

Off Narragansett

Karl Miller, 28 September 1989

Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn 
by Paul Watkins.
Century Hutchinson, 269 pp., £12.95, August 1989, 0 09 173914 4
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Blood and Water 
by Patrick McGrath.
Penguin Originals, 183 pp., £4.99, February 1989, 0 14 011005 4
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The Grotesque 
by Patrick McGrath.
Viking, 186 pp., £11.95, October 1989, 0 670 82987 0
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... Paul Watkins’s novel and Patrick McGrath’s The Grotesque are second books by young British writers whose work has been well-received in America, to which, together with its surrounding seas, both of these writers have been drawn. Paul Watkins used, they say, to set off from Eton for spells on an oil rig, and after graduating from Yale he fished for three years off the New England coast, where this novel of his is located ...
Carrington: A Life and a Policy 
by Patrick Cosgrave.
Dent, 182 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 460 04691 8
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Thatcher: The First Term 
by Patrick Cosgrave.
Bodley Head, 240 pp., £9.95, June 1985, 0 370 30602 3
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Viva Britannia: Mrs Thatcher’s Britain 
by Paolo Filo della Torre.
Sidgwick, 101 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 283 99143 7
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... Patrick Cosgrave is a well-known political journalist who has been within and without the Conservative Party for many years. He has played Boswell to Margaret Thatcher’s Johnson, having come in from the cold, as it were, of the Heath years. He has now written a book about Peter Carrington, who resigned, of course, as Foreign Minister after the Argentines invaded the Falklands in April 1982 ...

Looking for Someone to Kill

Patrick Cockburn: In Baghdad, 4 August 2005

... out seventy cars rigged to explode every day. He was expecting an attack on his ministry, a tall white building in the centre of Baghdad, and had just moved into a new house after a vehicle packed with nearly a tonne of explosives had been found near his home. He showed me with some pride a photograph of heavy artillery shells and a torpedo looted from a ...

What the neighbours are up to

Patrick Cockburn: On the Iranian Border, 8 June 2006

... has been that democracy in Iraq primarily benefits the Shia, the religious parties and Iran. The White House and Downing Street aren’t very happy about this, but there isn’t much they can do about it, despite their manoeuvring. As American and British power declines, Iraq’s neighbours are making plans to increase the level of their intervention. Iran ...


Patrick Cockburn: Iraq after the handover, 22 July 2004

... continue to dominate the front pages he will probably lose. In April 125 soldiers were killed: the White House needs to show voters that casualties are on the way down. The appointment of Allawi is itself a demonstration of how far the balance of power has swung against the US. Twelve months ago Paul Bremer, the US viceroy, was blithely talking about ...

World’s End

John Sutherland, 1 October 1987

The Day of Creation 
by J.G. Ballard.
Gollancz, 254 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 575 04152 8
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The Playmaker 
by Thomas Keneally.
Hodder, 310 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 340 34154 8
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In the Skin of a Lion 
by Michael Ondaatje.
Secker, 244 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 436 34009 7
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The House of Hospitalities 
by Emma Tennant.
Viking, 184 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 670 81501 2
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... around this time, and was invalided home in 1792.) In recognition of the racial crime on which the white man’s Australia is founded, Keneally dedicates The Playmaker ‘To Arabanoo and his brethren, still dispossessed’. Few other novels could carry off the gesture as authoritatively. Keneally anatomises historical Australia by plucking from its ...

At Tate Britain

Brian Dillon: Patrick Keiller, 7 June 2012

... down another field, diagonally, this time accompanied by a blue tractor. This pairing of views in Patrick Keiller’s 2010 film Robinson in Ruins – glimpsed again as part of his current installation at Tate Britain (on display until 14 October) – is almost too typical to be true and must, among other things, be a joke at his own expense. Since the early ...


Maggie York, 10 October 1991

... I whispered into her face she reeled back ‘Oh hen I’ve nothing for ye, but there’s an old white sheet in the wardrobe.’ II I remember a drawing in a school book a woman lying belly up beneath a tree. Above her, another woman heaved her weight from a branch up and down, bare feet joining in labour. That’s what my mother did to me. She jumped on my ...


Patrick Hughes: What do artists do?, 24 July 1986

... a blind man who is also a midget and pulls a little cart. He was looking very closely at his white stick. Though I have found it very hard to convince Carmen Callil – who believes that, since she occasionally sees me out in the evening, I am out in the evening all day – I am actually on my own all day every day. And since I am single, this would mean ...

Going Electric

Patrick McGuinness: J.H. Prynne, 7 September 2000

by J.H. Prynne.
Bloodaxe/Folio/Fremantle Arts Centre, 440 pp., £25, March 2000, 1 85224 491 7
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Pearls that Were 
by J.H. Prynne.
Equipage, 28 pp., £4, March 1999, 1 900968 95 9
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by J.H. Prynne.
Barque, 42 pp., £4, December 1999, 9781903488010
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Other: British and Irish Poetry since 1970 
edited by Richard Caddel and Peter Quartermain.
Wesleyan, 280 pp., $45, March 1999, 0 8195 2241 4
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... poems, which contain lines like these, in ‘Star Damage at Home’, from the 1969 collection The White Stones:                               ... That some star not included in the middle heavens should pine in earth, not shine above the skys and those cloudy vapours? That it really should burn with fierce heat, explode its ...

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