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Charmed Lives

Patrick Parrinder, 23 April 1987

Memoirs of a Fortunate Jew: An Italian Story 
by Dan Vittorio Segre.
Peter Halban, 273 pp., £12.95, January 1987, 1 870015 00 2
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To the Land of the Reeds 
by Aharon Appelfeld, translated by Jeffrey Green.
Weidenfeld, 148 pp., £9.95, February 1987, 0 297 78972 4
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by Daphne Merkin.
Hamish Hamilton, 288 pp., £10.95, March 1987, 0 241 12113 2
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by Umberto Saba, translated by Mark Thompson.
Carcanet, 166 pp., £9.95, March 1987, 0 85635 559 3
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... progress. To the Land of the Reeds is built around a journey with its illusion of progress: Daphne Merkin’s first novel, Enchantment, has the obsessively circular and cyclical quality of a bad dream. The story is little more than an accumulation of episodes in which Hannah Lehmann, a contemporary New Yorker in her mid-twenties, picks away at the ...


Gerald Howard, 18 July 1996

Secret Life 
by Michael Ryan.
Bloomsbury, 352 pp., £7.99, February 1996, 0 7475 2545 5
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... itself deep inside the American psyche’. Writing more favourably in the Times Book Review, Daphne Merkin called Secret Life ‘an extraordinarily absorbing and disquieting memoir’. It is between these two poles of censoriousness and uneasy empathy that most readers will shuttle as they attempt to resolve their own feelings about what ...

We Laughed, We Clowned

Michael Wood: Diana Trilling, 29 June 2017

The Untold Journey: The Life of Diana Trilling 
by Natalie Robins.
Columbia, 399 pp., £25, June 2017, 978 0 231 18208 9
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... Robins herself says: ‘Diana was serious in her use of psychoanalytic jargon.’ The writer Daphne Merkin remarks that ‘if there ever was someone who was literal about psychoanalytic concepts, it was Diana … Metaphor would get lost.’ But the people cited in this work – friends and associates, ex-friends, children, students, enemies – all ...


Ardis Butterfield: Who was Chaucer?, 27 August 2015

... from a New York Times review of Hermione Lee’s 1997 biography of Virginia Woolf. In the midst of Daphne Merkin’s somewhat dutiful praise there erupts a moment of real excitement: Art and Affection: A Life of Virginia Woolf, by Panthea Reid, while not nearly as strong as Ms Lee’s, makes fascinating use of documents that are either unfamiliar or ...

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