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Feral Chihuahuas

Jessica Olin: A.M. Homes goes west, 22 June 2006

This Book Will Save Your Life 
by A.M. Homes.
Granta, 372 pp., £14.99, June 2006, 1 86207 848 3
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... This book will save your life’: it’s a bold claim. In A.M. Homes’s new novel, Richard Novak has systematically removed himself from the world of human relationships. In the wake of a failed marriage, he moved to Los Angeles and set up a perfectly ordered existence. He stopped going to work years ago; instead, each morning he checks the market while exercising on his treadmill and drinks his special breakfast shakes ...

Gender Distress

Elaine Showalter, 9 May 1996

In the Cut 
by Susanna Moore.
Picador, 180 pp., £12.99, April 1996, 0 330 34452 8
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The End of Alice 
by A.M. Homes.
Scribner, 271 pp., $22, March 1996, 0 684 81528 1
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... says to his victim in distaste. ‘I don’t like cutting you, you know.’ Similarly, in A.M. Homes’s The End of Alice the narrator insists that a seductive little girl is forcing him to slash and stab. ‘“Why do you make me?” I’m crying. “Don’t make me.” ’ Moore and Homes are among the recent women ...

Closed off, Walled in

Saree Makdisi: The withdrawal from Gaza, 1 September 2005

... of Palestine in 1948. Most of its inhabitants are descendants of people driven from their homes during the creation of Israel. Most of the Israeli settlers cleared from Gaza will move to the coastal plain south of Jaffa, which is where the refugees of Gaza came from in the first place. Not one Palestinian village there survived the destruction of ...

Becoming homeless is easily done

David Renton, 7 May 2020

... that schools should be kept open for key workers? The staff were made to work in their pupils’ homes and, even worse, were sent to work in a different house each day, maximising their risk of infection. The teacher wanted to know whether she could refuse the new arrangement and not lose the money she’d earned. I advised her that the law protects the ...


Mike Davis: California Burns, 15 November 2007

... this way and that, losing more leaves with every swoop, and branches were torn away. Later I found arms of eucalyptus trees in the corral, red sap, like blood, at the severed places . . . We seemed to be watching a big fire whose flames were yellow instead of red, and it was consuming our land while we looked helplessly down. Luckily, the Santa Ana abates ...

Short Cuts

Tariq Ali: Af-Pak, 19 November 2009

... was not simply the richest man in the country as a result of large-scale corruption and the drugs/arms trade, but a CIA agent too come as a huge surprise to anyone? I’m told that in desperation Nato commissars even considered appointing a High Representative on the Balkan model to run the country, making the presidency an even more titular post than it is ...

Porringers and Pitkins

Keith Thomas: The Early Modern Household, 5 July 2018

A Day at Home in Early Modern England: Material Culture and Domestic Life, 1500-1700 
by Tara Hamling and Catherine Richardson.
Yale, 311 pp., £40, October 2017, 978 0 300 19501 9
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... of Domestic Manners and Sentiments in England during the Middle Ages. Reissued in 1871 as The Homes of Other Days, it contained more than three hundred illustrations drawn from medieval manuscripts by the brilliant engraver F.W. Fairholt. Wright was highly informative on domestic lighting, heating, meals, clothes, furniture and recreations, though not as ...

He’s Bad, She’s Mad

Mary Hannity: HMP Holloway, 9 May 2019

Bad Girls: The Rebels and Renegades of Holloway Prison 
by Caitlin Davies.
John Murray, 373 pp., £10.99, February 2019, 978 1 4736 4776 3
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... suburban neighbours unhappy about the construction of a prison in the midst of their new-built homes.’ When an execution took place, crowds would gather outside the gates, as if the spectacle of the building itself substituted for the unseen scaffold within. Ken Neale, who helped oversee the partial demolition and rebuilding of Holloway in the ...


Ian Gilmour: The Terminal 5 Enquiry, 19 March 1998

... been able to proceed with their pet scheme. They could not have turned householders out of their homes by compulsory purchase, or wrecked prime agricultural land. There would have had to be a public inquiry, which would have exposed their project as the folly it was. Since then, the behaviour of our masters has not greatly improved. In July 1963, when there ...

Aunt Twackie’s Bazaar

Andy Beckett: Seventies Style, 19 August 2010

70s Style and Design 
by Dominic Lutyens and Kirsty Hislop.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £24.90, November 2009, 978 0 500 51483 2
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... New York, Paris, Milan and San Francisco, featuring boutiques and nightclubs and fashionable homes, and upwardly mobile stars such as Bryan Ferry and Liza Minnelli and Ossie Clark. The London clothes shop Biba gets more entries in the index than anything else. How far the trends portrayed spread beyond the metropolis is rarely clear. A single photograph ...

When the Floods Came

James Meek: England’s Water, 31 July 2008

... peaks in mid and late June. In Yorkshire and Humberside, the worst affected areas in June, 27,000 homes and businesses were flooded. In low-lying Hull, pumps failed to cope with the deluge, and a man trying to clear a storm drain died of hypothermia, surrounded by rescuers who could not free his trapped leg. A man and a teenage boy were swept away by a flood ...


Thomas Lynch, 21 March 1996

... gone now to malls and marts and supermarkets with meaningless or fictional monikers. But funeral homes and water-closets still stubbornly proclaim the names of the ones you’ll be doing business with. Lynch & Sons is the name of ours. Is it ego or identity crisis I sometimes ask myself. The house I live in here on Liberty was built in 1880. It had no ...


Long Ling: What really happened in Yancheng?, 23 January 2020

... in industrial parks. They also tracked down the rumour-mongers. Residents returned to their homes the next morning and order was restored to the city. Please comment on this incident.I remembered reading in the newspaper that something had happened at Yancheng four months ago, but there was no time for reflection. I picked out the key points of the ...

Astonish Mould and Mildew

Andrew O’Hagan: Bless this House with Less, 10 October 2019

Hinch Yourself Happy: All the Best Cleaning Tips to Shine Your Sink and Soothe Your Soul 
by Mrs Hinch.
Michael Joseph, 288 pp., £12.99, April 2019, 978 0 241 39975 0
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... the general rise of British clutter.* Mass Observation had been asking people to describe their homes. ‘Carol Daniel,’ Sandbrook writes, was a 29-year-old Tesco shelf-stacker, living at an end of terrace house in Havering, Essex, with her husband and children. Their living room has an armchair, an orange three-section sofa, a birdcage, a fish tank and a ...

What’s in a Number?

Donald MacKenzie: The $300 Trillion Question, 25 September 2008

... how much the calculation matters. The co-ordinators have dedicated phone lines laid into their homes so they can still work if a terrorist attack or other incident stops them reaching the office. A similarly equipped building, near the office, is kept in constant readiness, and there’s a permanently staffed back-up site in a small town around 150 miles ...

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