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John Lanchester, 11 July 1991

Serial Murder: An Elusive Phenomenon 
edited by Stephen Egger.
Praeger, 250 pp., £33.50, October 1990, 0 275 92986 8
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Serial Killers 
by Joel Norris.
Arrow, 333 pp., £4.99, July 1990, 0 09 971750 6
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Life after Life 
by Tony Parker.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.50, May 1991, 0 330 31528 5
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American Psycho 
by Bret Easton Ellis.
Picador, 399 pp., £6.99, April 1991, 0 330 31992 2
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Dirty Weekend 
by Helen Zahavi.
Macmillan, 185 pp., £13.99, April 1991, 0 333 54723 3
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Silence of the Lambs 
by Thomas Harris.
Mandarin, 366 pp., £4.99, April 1991, 0 7493 0942 3
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... for works by artists as different from each other as P.D. James, DV8 Physical Dance Theatre and David Lynch. Stephen Egger, an American academic and former policeman who wrote the first doctoral dissertation on the phenomenon, gives a definition/description of serial murder in Serial Murder: An Elusive Phenomenon: A serial murder occurs when one or ...

Straight to the Multiplex

Tom McCarthy: Steven Hall’s ‘The Raw Shark Texts’, 1 November 2007

The Raw Shark Texts 
by Steven Hall.
Canongate, 368 pp., £12.99, March 2007, 978 1 84195 902 3
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... from the outside is what drives The Picture of Dorian Gray, or Frankenstein, or the films of David Lynch. To watch yourself from outside is, according to the textbook, to watch yourself as dead – and both Hall and his hero understand this all too well. Holed up in his flat, Eric Sanderson reads letter after letter sent to him by ‘the First Eric ...


Iain Sinclair: In Guy Vaes’s Footsteps, 21 May 2020

... draped Art Deco dryads, fishbowl lights and heavy velvet curtains. The set was screaming for a David Lynch remake of The Masque of the Red Death. Room Three, Hotel Esperance, Finistère: a beacon of hope at the end of a darkening continent. But something embedded layers deep, mephitic and beyond redemption, was present in this city. All the coded ...

Is there hope for U?

Christopher Tayler: Tom McCarthy, 21 May 2015

Satin Island 
by Tom McCarthy.
Cape, 192 pp., £16.99, March 2015, 978 0 224 09019 3
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... Franzen, an apostate from their ranks, helped make the ex-theorist schlub a stock character. David Foster Wallace, a true believer of sorts, envied Dostoevsky’s pre-postmodern sincerity. Then everything seemed to get turned round and I was suddenly too old to be able to speak with confidence about the totality of Western culture, or to police an ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Dune’, 16 December 2021

... is a very delicate time,’ we are told in Frank Herbert’s novel Dune (1965), and again in David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation. None of that ‘a long time ago’ stuff, especially since we’re not talking about the past. The action takes place in the first months of the year 10191. The year is also mentioned in Denis Villeneuve’s new ...

Bad News

Iain Sinclair, 6 December 1990

by John Farrand.
Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 239 pp., $40, June 1990, 1 55670 134 9
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Weather Watch 
by Dick File.
Fourth Estate, 299 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 1 872180 12 4
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Climate Change: The IPCC Scientific Assessment 
edited by J.T. Houghton, G.J. Jenkins and J.J. Ephraums.
Cambridge, 365 pp., £40, September 1990, 9780521403603
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Crop Circles: The Latest Evidence 
by Pat Delgado and Colin Andrews.
Bloomsbury, 80 pp., £5.99, October 1990, 0 7475 0843 7
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The Stumbling Block, Its Index 
by B. Catling.
Book Works, £22, October 1990, 9781870699051
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... accusation of academic complacency. ‘Lightning, Phoenix, Arizona’ has the abrupt menace of a David Lynch dream sequence, the cardiac arrest when a previously straightforward narrative crosses the line and touches a vertiginous post-mortem truth. We need to be reminded of the ugly, petrol-breathed, epidermic floss sulking past our own windows. These ...

Illuminating, horrible etc

Jenny Turner: David Foster Wallace, 14 April 2011

Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace 
by David Lipsky.
Broadway, 320 pp., $16.99, 9780307592439
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The Pale King: An Unfinished Novel 
by David Foster Wallace.
Hamish Hamilton, 547 pp., £20, April 2011, 978 0 241 14480 0
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... gratifying that people die while watching it, round and round for ever, in an endless loop. David Foster Wallace always had trouble finishing his novels. And yet he put in this one a thought so absorbing and delightful that you could easily imagine yourself, like the rat in the experiment, pressing the lever over and over. ‘Thousands of times an ...


Terry Eagleton, 27 November 1997

The Indivisible Remainder: An Essay on Schelling and Related Matters 
by Slavoj Žižek.
Verso, 248 pp., £40, January 1997, 1 85984 094 9
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The Abyss of Freedom/Ages of The World 
by Slavoj Žižek and F.W.J. Von Schelling.
Michigan, 182 pp., £35, July 1997, 0 472 09652 4
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The Plague of Fantasies 
by Slavoj Žižek.
Verso, 248 pp., £40, November 1997, 1 85984 857 5
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... a grotesque war dance for the delectation of some visiting anthropologists, he notes that ‘David Owen and companions are today’s version of the expedition to the New Zealand tribe: they act and react exactly in the same way, overlooking how the entire spectacle of “old hatreds suddenly erupting in their primordial cruelty” is a dance staged for ...

No Casket, No Flowers

Thomas Lynch: MacSwiggan’s Ashes, 20 April 2006

Committed to the Cleansing Flame: The Development of Cremation in 19th-Century England 
by Brian Parsons.
Spire, 328 pp., £34.95, November 2005, 1 904965 04 0
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... and sense of water. So I went out and around past the Dean parish church, and the graveyard where David Octavius Hill is buried. I made my way down to the water by the footpath, and walking back in the direction of the bridge, I found a small waterfall, apparently the site of an old mill, and poured Hughey’s ashes out – some into the curling top waters ...

You are terrorists, we are virtuous

Yitzhak Laor: The IDF, 17 August 2006

... grow accustomed from childhood: the most menacing army in the region is described here as if it is David against an Arab Goliath. Yet the Jewish Goliath has sent Lebanon back 20 years, and Israelis themselves even further: we now appear to be a lynch-mob culture, glued to our televisions, incited by a premier whose ...

Embalming Father

Thomas Lynch, 20 July 1995

... still dead when it’s over.’ He’d had enough. Even now I think of that final scene in David Lean’s old film when Zhivago’s heart is described as ‘paper thin’. He thinks he sees Lara turning a corner in Moscow. He struggles to get off the bus, loosens his tie, finally makes it to the sidewalk where, after two steps, he drops dead. Dead ...

Magician behind Bars

Michael Rogin: David Mamet in a Cul de Sac, 2 July 1998

The Old Religion 
by David Mamet.
Faber, 194 pp., £9.99, May 1998, 0 571 19260 2
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... Slaton’s decision to commute the sentence and the good citizens of Marietta enforced the ‘lynch law’ he had urged against ‘the satyr-faced New York Jew’. The Leo Frank case, which occurred in the wake of the Dreyfus Affair in France and at the time of the imprisonment of the Ukrainian Jewish factory manager Mendel Beilis on a charge of ritual ...

Henry Hill and Laura Palmer

Philip Horne, 20 December 1990

... One of the strongest and strangest moments in David Lynch’s unsettling TV serial Twin Peaks, part of the dream of wholesome investigating agent Dale Cooper, comes when he is kissed full on the mouth by the figure of Laura Palmer, who was a ‘wild girl’ but is now dead and whose murderer he has come to town to detect ...

Freddie Gray

Adam Shatz, 21 May 2015

... two police officers were killed by a deranged man angry at the death of Eric Garner, Pat Lynch, the bullish head of the New York Policemen’s Union, accused de Blasio of having ‘blood on his hands’.) Fifty years after the defeat of legal segregation, millions of black parents across the United States have that talk with their children, but it ...

The Mourning Paper

David Simpson: On war and showing pictures of the dead, 20 May 2004

... are subject to both direct and self-imposed political and ideological control. Private Jessica Lynch, who had the independence of mind to resent the falsifications of her captivity narrative for propaganda purposes and the courage to say so, has also quietly disappeared from major-media sight. But the recent discussion is almost entirely limited to the ...

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