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Productive Mischief

Michael Wood: Borges and Borges and I, 4 February 1999

Collected Fictions 
by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Andrew Hurley.
Allen Lane, 565 pp., £20, January 1999, 0 14 028680 2
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... if we were still sceptical, we could find the joke in his writings. In ‘The Simulacrum’, which Andrew Hurley translates as ‘The Mountebank’, a man arrives in a small village in northern Argentina and exhibits a blonde doll in a cardboard box which serves as her coffin. People file by, offering their condolences, addressing the man as ...

The Disappeared

Eduardo Rabossi, 27 January 1994

The Angel of Darkness 
by Ernesto Sábato, translated by Andrew Hurley.
Cape, 435 pp., £15.99, May 1993, 0 224 03306 9
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... It was 30 December 1983, and the National Commission on the Disappeared had been set up by Presidential decree a few days earlier. Ernesto Sábato, Ricardo Colombres, Magdalena Ruíz Guiñazú and I were sitting at an unusually large table in an office in downtown Buenos Aires. All the adjoining offices were deserted, with the exception of one in which four young civil servants from the Ministry of the Interior, sent ‘to give us a hand at the start’, were talking nervously ...

Fuentes the Memorious

John Sutherland, 19 June 1986

The Old Gringo 
translated by Margaret Sayers Peden and Carlos Fuentes, by Carlos Fuentes.
Deutsch, 199 pp., £8.95, May 1986, 0 233 97862 3
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Where the air is clear 
by Carlos Fuentes, translated by Sam Hileman.
Deutsch, 376 pp., £4.95, June 1986, 0 233 97937 9
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Farewell to the Sea 
by Reinaldo Arenas, translated by Andrew Hurley.
Viking, 412 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 670 52960 5
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Digging up the mountains 
by Neil Bissoondath.
Deutsch, 247 pp., £8.95, May 1986, 0 233 97851 8
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... Carlos Fuentes is one of those unusual novelists who would make the International Who’s Who even if he had never written a novel. As a public man, Fuentes’s career has been directed to Mexico’s uneasy relationship with the outside world – he was Mexican Ambassador to France from 1975 to 1977. As a novelist, he explores the internal character of his country, in Where the air is clear, his first novel, originally published in 1958, in The Death of Artemio Cruz and in Terra Nostra ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Crap Towns, 23 October 2003

... most recently in Could Do Better: School Reports of the Great and the Good, edited by Catherine Hurley, and just out in paperback (Pocket Books, £5.99). ‘The joy in reading many of the reports in this collection,’ Hurley writes in the introduction, ‘is discovering those that are spectacularly wrong as well as those ...

Infante’s Inferno

G. Cabrera Infante, 18 November 1982

Legacies: Selected Poems 
by Heberto Padilla, translated by Alastair Reid and Andrew Hurley.
Faber, 179 pp., £8.75, September 1982, 0 374 18472 0
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... Sebastian Venable, the poet as pervert in Suddenly Last Summer, claimed as new and personal an old and decadent dictum now rephrased to suit the stage: ‘The life of the poet is the work of the poet and the work of the poet is the life of the poet.’ This is Oscar Wilde as rewritten by Tennessee Williams. The author of that gruesome playlet must have had in mind the notorious Algerian meeting near the fin de siecle in which Wilde, holding Bosie’s hand, boasted before a timid André Gide of having put all his genius into his life (looking at Bosie) but only his talent (looking at Gide) into his writing – and in the same bad breath told Gide, a prim and puritanical pederast, that there was an Arab boy he shouldn’t miss au poil for all the mint tea in Araby! Williams made his poet pervert die cannibalised on a Mediterranean beach ...

Fat Bastard

David Runciman: Shane Warne, 15 August 2019

No Spin 
by Shane Warne.
Ebury, 411 pp., £9.99, June 2019, 978 1 78503 785 6
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... and cause deep pain to his long-suffering wife Simone – and later to his girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley – along with his three children. What can he do except hold his hands up and ask for forgiveness? But he refuses to learn his lesson. One evening in 2006, in the middle of a match he was playing for Hampshire, he got a text from a woman he’d known for ...

Tunnel Vision

Jenny Diski: Princess Diana, 2 August 2007

The Diana Chronicles 
by Tina Brown.
Century, 481 pp., £18.99, June 2007, 978 1 84605 286 6
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by Sarah Bradford.
Penguin, 443 pp., £7.99, July 2007, 978 0 14 027671 8
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... seemed to understand that stories have their own needs and immutable trajectories. Diana told Andrew Morton in Diana: Her True Story that she would never be queen. In 1992 I reviewed the Morton book for this paper and mocked her prediction: ‘The premonition is never quite explained. Does she think that death is beckoning, or divorce, or is she planning ...

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