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Patrick Parrinder

23 November 1989
Christopher Unborn 
by Carlos Fuentes, translated by Alfred MacAdam.
Deutsch, 531 pp., £13.95, October 1989, 0 233 98016 4
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The Faber Book of Contemporary Latin American Short Stories 
edited by Nick Caistor.
Faber, 188 pp., £11.99, September 1989, 0 571 15359 3
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by Gore Vidal.
Deutsch, 543 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 9780233984957
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Oldest living Confederate widow tells all 
by Allan Gurganus.
Faber, 718 pp., £12.99, November 1989, 9780571142019
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... again’) and Hollywood itself, which is seen to have ‘all the charms of village life and none of the drawbacks’. Champagne and silver forks are in short supply in Falls, North Carolina, where AllanGurganus’s Confederate widow has lived for more than ninety years. A first-person narrator – ‘My English may be ugly as a mud fence but I know what a story is,’ she boasts – Lucy Marsden ...

My God, the Suburbs!

Colm Tóibín: John Cheever

5 November 2009
Cheever: A Life 
by Blake Bailey.
Picador, 770 pp., £25, November 2009, 978 0 330 43790 5
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... have a profound effect on him once he left his own house in Ossining and took a look at the world. In 1973, when he began teaching at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he had T.C. Boyle, Ron Hansen and AllanGurganus as students. Not only were these talented young writers, but one of them – Gurganus – was extremely handsome (as the photograph included in Bailey’s biography makes abundantly clear ...
22 August 1996
Selected Poems 
by James Merrill.
Carcanet, 152 pp., £9.95, April 1996, 1 85754 228 2
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... what happens when the Great Plains meet the great fancies ...’ Not that Merrill was usually stinting in his encouragement of lesser (or even equal) writers. ‘Was anybody ever better company?’ AllanGurganus recalls. ‘Ready as he was to laugh, making James Merrill laugh pleased us like a good week’s work. And oh to be thought talented and graceful by the one person alive who was most purely ...

Desperately Seeking Susan

Terry Castle: Remembering Susan Sontag

17 March 2005
... weeks ago I found myself scanning photographs of Susan Sontag into my screensaver file: a tiny head shot clipped from Newsweek; two that had appeared in the New York Times; another printed alongside AllanGurganus’s obituary in the Advocate, a glossy American gay and lesbian mag usually devoted to pulchritudinous gym bunnies, gay sitcom stars and treatments for flesh-eating strep. It seemed the ...

A Shark Swims through It

Lidija Haas: A Talent for Nonchalance

8 March 2018
A Grace Paley Reader: Stories, Essays and Poetry 
edited by Kevin Bowen and Nora Paley.
Farrar, Straus, 371 pp., $27, October 2017, 978 0 374 16582 6
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... that politics might be a harmful distraction for an artist: ‘It certainly isn’t antithetical to a passionate interior life – all that noise coming in. You have to make music of it somehow.’ AllanGurganus, who studied with her as a young man, has described how, in her classes, everyone was encouraged to talk at once, with Paley acting as conductor – he remembered it as ‘stereophonic sound ...

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