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Red Flowers, at a Wedding?

Tessa Hadley: Claire Keegan

24 January 2008
Walk the Blue Fields 
by Claire Keegan.
Faber, 163 pp., £10.99, May 2007, 978 0 571 23306 9
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... In the title story of ClaireKeegan’s second collection, Walk the Blue Fields, a priest is officiating at a wedding in rural Ireland: the bride is late, the organist has to play the Bach toccata twice, ‘a thrill of doubt’ is ...

Hats One Dreamed about

Tessa Hadley: Rereading Bowen

9 February 2020
Collected Stories 
by Elizabeth Bowen.
Everyman, 904 pp., £18.99, October 2019, 978 1 84159 392 0
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... wisely to end it with ‘A Day in the Dark’ from 1956, a wonderful scrap of an Irish story about the despoiling of a young girl’s first love, which seems to look forward to Edna O’Brien or ClaireKeegan. Barbie is living one summer with her uncle, in a sensual dream of happiness, in love with him without knowing it. He sends her to pay a visit to his neighbour, a thwarted, fascinating, clever ...

She gives me partridges

Bee Wilson: Alma Mahler

5 November 2015
Malevolent Muse: The Life of Alma Mahler 
by Oliver Hilmes, translated by Donald Arthur.
Northeastern, 360 pp., £29, May 2015, 978 1 55553 789 0
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... in her life, rather than a form of unthinking prejudice. In The Bride of the Wind (1991) – the title is taken from the famous swirling Kokoschka painting of himself in bed with Alma – Susanne Keegan presented Alma’s anti-Semitism as tangential to her personality: a ‘tasteless’ aberration. Keegan noted that she had many Jewish friends and treated Jewish men such as Schönberg and Mahler as ...

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