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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Synecdoche, New York’, 11 June 2009

Synecdoche, New York 
directed by Charlie Kaufman.
April 2009
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... does in To The Lighthouse, or would it be entirely different? At the end of Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Kaufman’s first film as a director, Caden Cotard seems to die as a theatrical version of himself inside a replica of Manhattan in a warehouse in Manhattan. A voice that reaches him by wire and microphone has for some time been telling him what to ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Anomalisa’, 21 April 2016

... don’t behave as if we were. But then sometimes the distinction collapses, or is displaced, as in Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s stop-motion film Anomalisa, based on a play Kaufman wrote in 2005. When Michael Stone, the author of a bestselling book about improving human relations in business, has a psychological ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’, 24 September 2020

... sit a little heavily on I’m Thinking of Ending Things, originally a novel by Iain Reid, which Charlie Kaufman has now adapted as a movie (on Netflix). Out of context, I’m Thinking of Ending Things strongly suggests the possibility of suicide. In context too, as it happens. However, in both Reid and Kaufman’s ...

The Me Who Knew It

Jenny Diski, 9 February 2012

Memory: Fragments of a Modern History 
by Alison Winter.
Chicago, 319 pp., £19.50, January 2012, 978 0 226 90258 6
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... Total Recall), and Pope’s ‘eternal sunshine of the spotless mind’ revisioned by Charlie Kaufman for the cinema, celebrate the humanity of human beings as the accumulation of their experience. In Dick the androids are given a lifetime of false memories to persuade them they are human, while Jim Carrey’s mind in Eternal Sunshine ...

Seeing Things Flat

Jenny Turner: Tom McCarthy’s ‘C’, 9 September 2010

by Tom McCarthy.
Cape, 310 pp., £16.99, August 2010, 978 0 224 09020 9
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... from the current fashion for baroque narratological cleverness in fiction, like the films of Charlie Kaufman and Christopher Nolan, the novels of David Mitchell, the television of Steven Moffat and his teams on Sherlock and Doctor Who. There are differences between cleverness and intellect. McCarthy has many things he’s trying to do in his ...

Move Your Head and the Picture Changes

Jenny Turner: Helen DeWitt, 11 September 2008

Your Name Here 
by Helen DeWitt and Ilya Gridneff., 580 pp., £8, May 2008
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... years ago, the novelist David Foster Wallace submitted himself to a long television interview with Charlie Rose, the PBS chat-show host. It was a terrific performance, and in it Wallace talked about why, in much of his work, narrative is split into body-text and footnotes: There’s a way, it seems to me, that reality’s fractured right now, at least the ...

Microwaved Turkey

Thomas Jones: Tim Lott, 7 February 2002

Rumours of a Hurricane 
by Tim Lott.
Viking, 378 pp., £14.99, February 2002, 0 670 88661 0
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... a mystery to me why White City Blue should have had so many people, from Tony Parsons to Gerald Kaufman via the Whitbread First Novel Award, in raptures. Rumours of a Hurricane, Lott’s second novel, is a more ambitious, more serious work: the anatomy of a marriage, a dissection of the 1980s. The prologue is set in the winter of 1991. We are introduced to ...

Miss Lachrymose

Liz Brown: Doris Day’s Performances, 11 September 2008

Doris Day: The Untold Story of the Girl Next Door 
by David Kaufman.
Virgin, 628 pp., £29.95, June 2008, 978 1 905264 30 8
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... beloved older brother, an extended family in a tight-knit German-American neighbourhood, an Uncle Charlie with a thriving bakery where all the kids worked. But the deep unhappiness of her parents’ marriage seems to have dominated. Alma, a starstruck and vivacious woman who dressed as Santa Claus at Christmas, had named her daughter after the silent screen ...

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