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Vileness

Michael Wood: Di Benedetto’s Style, 5 April 2018

Zama 
by Antonio Di Benedetto, translated by Esther Allen.
NYRB, 198 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 1 59017 717 4
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Nest in the Bones 
by Antonio Di Benedetto, translated by Martina Broner.
Archipelago, 275 pp., £15.99, May 2017, 978 0 914671 72 5
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... out the rest from the local details – or, in my case, I gratefully accept the information from Esther Allen. Don Diego conjures up the distance from home. ‘Half the length of two countries and all the width of the second lay stretched between my wife and me.’ He pictures the ‘slow journey’ of a letter to his wife ‘by water to Buenos ...

You better not tell me you forgot

Terry Castle: How to Spot Members of the Tribe, 27 September 2012

All We Know: Three Lives 
by Lisa Cohen.
Farrar Straus, 429 pp., £22.50, July 2012, 978 0 374 17649 5
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... study of three now almost forgotten lesbian women: the American heiress and intellectual polymath Esther Murphy (1897-1962); Mercedes de Acosta (1893-1968), the Cuban-American Hollywood screenwriter, memoirist and seductress extraordinaire (Garbo and Dietrich and Isadora Duncan were among her conquests); and the brittle yet pioneering British fashion editor ...

Antic Santa

James Francken: Nathan Englander, 28 October 1999

For the Relief of Unbearable Urges 
by Nathan Englander.
Faber, 205 pp., £9.99, May 1999, 0 571 19691 8
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... souls’ and that this relief turns all the outward signs of observance into an illusion. Woody Allen makes fun of the false piety of the Hasidim in ‘Hasidic Tales’ in Getting Even: the man who ‘journeyed to Chelm in order to seek the advice’ of the sage finds out that ‘the rabbi is in over his head with gamblers, and he has also been named in a ...

Malice

John Mullan: Fanny Burney, 23 August 2001

Fanny Burney: A Biography 
by Claire Harman.
Flamingo, 464 pp., £8.99, October 2001, 0 00 655036 3
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Fanny Burney: Her Life 
by Kate Chisholm.
Vintage, 347 pp., £7.99, June 1999, 0 09 959021 2
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Faithful Handmaid: Fanny Burney at the Court of King George III 
by Hester Davenport.
Sutton, 224 pp., £25, June 2000, 0 7509 1881 0
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... of the battle, just outside the city. Yet even after victory was confirmed, she told her sister Esther that she feared the loss of her manuscripts. All the Mss I possess – all the works, begun, middled, or done, large or small, that my pen ever scribbled, since the grand Firework of destruction on my 15th Birthday … all our joint Mss of my dearest ...

A Regular Bull

Christopher Hitchens, 31 July 1997

Whittaker Chambers: A Biography 
by Sam Tanenhaus.
Random House, 640 pp., $35, February 1997, 0 394 58559 3
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... as good as the early Steinbeck. He also took a Party wife, a devoted Russian-born loyalist named Esther Shemitz. She seems to have supplied him with two sorts of cover, since his recruitment for ‘special work’ by the newly Sovietised Party overlapped in time with his discovery, or perhaps better say ‘self-admission’, that he was a ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... a soft opportunity for the stoking of misunderstanding in the name of political progress. Lily Allen knew how people were feeling on the ground, she said. ‘So many community centres have been closed down,’ she said, wrongly. Pubs, she added, had been turned into homes for rich people, presumably rich people very different from Lily ...

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