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Nap

Chris Andrews, 10 September 2009

... A ten-minute Jesuit nap with shoes on releases the hypnagogic sentences mimicking the rhythms of sports commentary, morphing darkly into a story like this: In the sunless world where we’d arranged to meet everything’s lit from within and space has nerves that pass through your throat (if you slide along them like a curtain ring it will hurt the next day) but it turned out to be much harder to leave my body behind than my slugabed mind, so we plumped for the Donkey on Fire instead with its comforting smell of public carpet, billiard balls clacking and vinyl silences ...

Honey Encryption

Chris Andrews, 1 July 2015

... This line came to me out of the dark: suspiciously luminous gherkin. And then it was the promised iceberg, an intern with his neurohammer, midnight calm, a lake of tea, the south with its barbaric clusters of stars … None of it made much sense but I thought: If it’s all there is in the pantry, I can make the dark meal out of this. My flame card is the key to the town ...

More like a Cemetery

Michael Wood: The Part about Bolaño, 26 February 2009

Nazi Literature in the Americas 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
New Directions, 227 pp., £17.95, May 2008, 978 0 8112 1705 7
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2666 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Picador, 898 pp., £20, January 2009, 978 0 330 44742 3
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... Roberto Bolaño likes to prolong his jokes well past the moment when even the slowest reader has got the point. Nazi Literature in the Americas, for example, looks like a single gag – the brief deadpan biography of an imaginary Fascist or near Fascist writer – multiplied by 30-odd cases over 200 pages. But then it dawns on even the slowest reader that what looked like the point wasn’t the point; and that the jokes were not only jokes ...

In the Sonora

Benjamin Kunkel: Roberto Bolaño, 6 September 2007

The Savage Detectives 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Picador, 577 pp., £16.99, July 2007, 978 0 330 44514 6
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Last Evenings on Earth 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
Harvill, 277 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 1 84343 181 7
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Amulet 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
New Directions, 184 pp., $21.95, January 2007, 978 0 8112 1664 7
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... Roberto Bolaño was born in Santiago de Chile in 1953, moved with his family to Mexico City at the age of 15, and was inspired by the election of Salvador Allende to return to his native country five years later. In his short story ‘Dance Card’, which accords with the known facts of his life and does not present itself as fiction, Bolaño indicates that he hardly distinguished as a young man – if he ever did – between his politics and his love of poetry: ‘I reached Chile in August 1973 ...

Among the Picts

John Sutherland, 18 August 1994

Stained Radiance: A Fictionist’s Prelude 
by J. Leslie Mitchell.
Polygon, 219 pp., £7.95, July 1993, 0 7486 6141 7
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The Speak of the Mearns 
by Lewis Grassic Gibbon.
Polygon, 268 pp., £8.95, June 1994, 0 7486 6167 0
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... after the county reorganisation of 1975. This cycle of novels follows the career of a Scotswoman, Chris Guthrie, from childhood on a croft in the North-Eastern coastlands, through the disruption of the First World War and two marriages, to middle age in a soulless city, ‘Dundon’, which combines repugnant features of Aberdeen and Dundee. The first ...

Ecclefechan and the Stars

Robert Crawford, 21 January 1988

The Crisis of the Democratic Intellect 
by George Davie.
Polygon, 283 pp., £17.95, September 1986, 0 948275 18 9
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... cultural models. By the time we come to the mid-19th century and after, the period covered by Chris Baldick’s The Social Mission of English Criticism, university English Studies and London Oxbridge English cultural imperialism go blithely hand in hand. This is a fruitful context in which to consider George Davie’s new book. Its pages contain in ...

Notes on a Notebook

Andrew O’Hagan, 30 September 1999

... Within hours of her murder Tony Blair spoke of it as ‘a disgusting act of barbarity’. David Andrews, the Irish Foreign Minister, said that it was ‘clearly designed to sabotage the peace process at this very critical time’. A crowd of about two hundred young people marched on the RUC station at Lurgan. A few of them threw petrol bombs at it. Mrs ...

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