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Staying Alive

Rosa Lyster: ‘The New Wilderness’, 5 November 2020

The New Wilderness 
by Diane Cook.
Oneworld, 398 pp., £16.99, August, 978 1 78607 821 6
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... of survival expand to fill the vacuum left by society and government and elections.The setting of Diane Cook’s The New Wilderness, her first novel, shortlisted for the Booker and picked up for TV adaptation by Warner Brothers, is unusual in this respect. As in her 2014 short story collection, Man v. Nature, she expands the conventions of the ...

Princess Diane

Penny Boumelha, 21 February 1985

Diane Arbus: A Biography 
by Patricia Bosworth.
Heinemann, 367 pp., £14.95, January 1985, 0 434 08150 7
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Inside the Onion 
by Howard Nemerov.
Chicago, 63 pp., £8.45, April 1984, 0 226 57244 7
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... with knowing looks, though reading the book did little to make me feel like a divinity. ‘Diane Arbus’s unsettling photographs of freaks and eccentrics were already being heralded in the art world before she killed herself in 1971’: so begins this strikingly predestinarian biography, enunciating in its first sentence the twin destinies of its ...

Hot Fudge

Jane Campbell, 19 October 1995

by Jane Smiley.
Flamingo, 414 pp., £15.99, May 1995, 9780002252355
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... Prize-winning novel A Thousand Acres, a transposition of King Lear to contemporary Iowa. Larry Cook is an ageing farmer who, by dint of hard work, canny management and lack of aversion to profiting from the misfortunes of others, has built up his farm to 1000 acres. ‘The seemingly stationary fields are always flowing toward one farmer and away from ...

Short Cuts

Chris Mullin: Anonymous and Abuse, 21 November 2019

... the mere fact of being black or Jewish and a woman is enough to induce apoplexy in some quarters. Diane Abbott is said to attract a high percentage of all threatening and abusive emails on the parliamentary account and so far six people have been convicted of threatening Luciana Berger – more prosecutions are said to be in the pipeline. In 2016 the West ...

Against Whales

Paul Keegan, 20 July 1995

The Moon by Whale Light 
by Diane Ackerman.
Phoenix, 260 pp., £6.99, May 1994, 1 85799 087 0
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The Last Panda 
by George Schaller.
Chicago, 292 pp., $13.95, May 1993, 0 226 73629 6
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The Great Ape Project 
edited by Paola Cavalieri and Peter Singer.
Fourth Estate, 312 pp., £9.99, June 1993, 1 85702 126 6
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... Moreover, there has been a hybridising of science writers, nature journalists, writer-scientists. Diane Ackerman and George Schaller are representative of either end of an increasingly blurred spectrum. The lengthy reports gathered in The Moon by Whale Light (‘and Other Adventures among Bats, Penguins, Crocodilians and Whales’) were written for the ...

The Angry Men

Jean McNicol: Harriet Harman, 14 December 2017

A Woman’s Work 
by Harriet Harman.
Allen Lane, 405 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 0 241 27494 1
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The Women Who Shaped Politics 
by Sophy Ridge.
Coronet, 295 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 4736 3876 1
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... know-your-place remarks of the sort made by Michael Fallon to Andrea Leadsom, or by David Davis of Diane Abbott. In the 1979 general election, which brought the Conservatives to power under Margaret Thatcher – something Harman describes as an ‘excruciating blow’ – 19 women were elected, the lowest postwar figure aside from the 17 elected in ...


Marilyn Butler, 22 January 1981

Three-Quarter Face 
by Penelope Gilliatt.
Secker, 295 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 9780436179587
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Show People 
by Kenneth Tynan.
Weidenfeld, 317 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 297 77842 0
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When the lights go down 
by Pauline Kael.
Boyars, 592 pp., £8.95, August 1980, 0 7145 2726 2
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... sees friends, plays word games, or goes walking with a dog. One can go shopping with people, or cook, as I did with the late, great Jean Renoir in Paris, or deal with pigeons on a terrace as I did with Woody Allen. Earlier in the Seventies, as a working critic, Gilliatt spent rewarding afternoons watching films. She is at her best when, after a session of ...

Aviators and Movie Stars

Patricia Lockwood: Carson McCullers, 19 October 2017

Stories, Plays and Other Writings 
by Carson McCullers.
Library of America, 672 pp., £33.99, January 2017, 978 1 59853 511 2
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... which was run by radical nuns. It was a Time-Life edition with an embroidered cover by Leo and Diane Dillon, a cover so beautiful it stayed on the eye and swam over the yellowing pages. I read it till the spine cracked and never returned it; it is next to me right now. I only stole the books that baffled me, the ones I couldn’t seem to solve. She was ...

Germs: A Memoir

Richard Wollheim, 15 April 2004

... or a grillroom. The ‘we’ who took part in this move were my parents, my brother, our nanny, a cook, my mother’s two dogs, one from her days on the stage, a Pomeranian, and another, a Pekingese, and myself. We also had a parlourmaid who was black, which was a rarity in those days, and she was called – to her face, I believe – ‘Black Mary’. It was ...

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