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Aaron, Gabriel and Bonaparte

Amanda Prantera, 19 December 1985

The Periodic Table 
by Primo Levi, translated by Raymond Rosenthal.
Joseph, 233 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 9780718126360
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... Once in an unguarded moment when I was trying to illustrate the unbounded nature of human vanity, I shamefacedly admitted to my daughter that I, too, outwardly so cool-headed and realistic about my slender talents, cherished in the back of my mind a dream of being awarded the Nobel Prize. I could see myself, I confessed, walking up an aisle of red plush carpet, flanked by applauding onlookers and heralded by fanfares, dressed in my best, blushing becomingly as I prepared to receive this the highest accolade currently available in the profession ...

Missing Pieces

Patrick Parrinder, 9 May 1991

Mr Wroe’s Virgins 
by Jane Rogers.
Faber, 276 pp., £13.99, April 1991, 0 571 16194 4
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The Side of the Moon 
by Amanda Prantera.
Bloomsbury, 192 pp., £13.99, April 1991, 0 7475 0861 5
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... for the worse or, just as likely, for the better – by her life as one of his virgins. Amanda Prantera’s new novel is another piece of the jigsaw that historians have overlooked. In this case, there is one particular historian, Cassius Dio, who wrote a chronicle of ancient Rome in 80 volumes at the beginning of the third century AD. One of ...

Ashes

Nicholas Spice, 19 December 1985

The Assault 
by Harry Mulisch, translated by Claire Nicolas White.
Collins Harvill, 204 pp., £8.95, November 1985, 0 00 271011 0
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All Our Yesterdays 
by Natalia Ginzburg, translated by Angus Davidson.
Carcanet, 300 pp., £9.95, March 1985, 0 85635 593 3
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Family Sayings 
by Natalia Ginzburg, translated by D.M. Low.
Carcanet, 181 pp., £7.95, May 1984, 0 85635 504 6
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The Little Virtues 
by Natalia Ginzburg, translated by Dick Davis.
110 pp., £6.95, June 1985, 0 85635 553 4
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Strange Loop 
by Amanda Prantera.
Cape, 175 pp., £8.50, June 1984, 0 224 02210 5
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The Cabalist 
by Amanda Prantera.
Cape, 184 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 224 02326 8
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... evil, ‘but funny and a little sad’. Flirting and singing are not, I should imagine, dangers Amanda Prantera worries herself about much when she sits down to write. Her first novel Strange Loop and now The Cabalist both give the impression that writing amuses her. Her writing certainly amuses me. And it is an amusement which isn’t funny, but ...

Poets and Pretenders

John Sutherland, 2 April 1987

The Great Pretender 
by James Atlas.
Viking, 239 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 9780670814619
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The Position of the Body 
by Richard Stern.
Northwestern, 207 pp., $21.95, November 1986, 0 8101 0730 9
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The Setting Sun and the Rolling World 
by Charles Mungoshi.
Heinemann, 202 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 434 48166 1
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Conversations with Lord Byron on Perversion, 162 Years after his Lordship’s Death 
by Amanda Prantera.
Cape, 174 pp., £9.95, March 1987, 9780224024235
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... most of Mungoshi’s pieces, as over Southern Africa as a whole, is an impenetrably cloudy future. Amanda Prantera’s Conversations with Lord Byron on Perversion, 162 years after his Lordship’s Death (another title that will infuriate cataloguers) has a neat premise. A super computer is programmed with every known fact about Byron: especially all the ...

She shall be nameless

Nicholas Spice: Marlen Haushofer, 18 December 2014

The Wall 
by Marlen Haushofer, translated by Shaun Whiteside.
Quartet, 211 pp., £12, June 2013, 978 0 7043 7311 2
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Nowhere Ending Sky 
by Marlen Haushofer, translated by Amanda Prantera.
Quartet, 178 pp., £12, June 2013, 978 0 7043 7207 8
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The Loft 
by Marlen Haushofer, translated by Amanda Prantera.
Quartet, 173 pp., £12, May 2011, 978 0 7043 7313 6
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... Among​ the leading Austrian writers of the postwar period, Marlen Haushofer is an unobtrusive presence. Where Bachmann and Bernhard, Handke and Jelinek all in their time achieved international recognition, Haushofer hung back, failing to take the chance, when it came, to break beyond Austrian borders, and, at her untimely death (she died of bone cancer in 1970, three weeks short of her fiftieth birthday), left a miscellany of work that has neither fallen into complete neglect nor settled into general acceptance ...

Up from the Cellar

Nicholas Spice: The Interment of Elisabeth Fritzl, 5 June 2008

Greed 
by Elfriede Jelinek, translated by Martin Chalmers.
Serpent’s Tail, 340 pp., £7.99, July 2008, 978 1 84668 666 5
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... up in that mountain valley, or of the scenes in another of her novels, Die Mansarde (translated by Amanda Prantera as My Loft Life), in which a deaf woman acts as a ‘therapist’ for a highly disturbed man who shouts out the story of some terrible crime in a confession she cannot hear. ‘Austria is a small world in which the big world holds its ...

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