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A Few Pitiful Traitors

David Drake: The French Resistance, 5 May 2016

Fighters in the Shadows: A New History of the French Resistance 
by Robert Gildea.
Faber, 593 pp., £20, September 2015, 978 0 571 28034 6
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Occupation Trilogy: ‘La Place de l’etoile’, ‘The Night Watch’, ‘Ring Roads’ 
by Patrick Modiano, translated by Caroline Hillier, Patricia Wolf and Frank Wynne.
Bloomsbury, 336 pp., £18.99, August 2015, 978 1 4088 6790 7
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... Two political forces​ dominated post-Liberation France: Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French and head of the provisional French government until January 1946; and the French Communist Party (PCF), at that point the biggest and most popular party in the country. As Robert Gildea explains in his perceptive new book, each constructed a myth about France’s behaviour during the war that served its own political interests; each claimed it had led the Resistance ...

Into a Blazing Oven

Lili Owen Rowlands: Virginie Despentes, 17 December 2020

Vernon Subutex Three 
by Virginie Despentes, translated by Frank Wynne.
MacLehose, 306 pp., £14.99, June, 978 0 85705 982 6
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... du X’, ‘un flingue’). Some of the English substitutes (‘bae’, ‘on fleek’) in Frank Wynne’s translation already feel dated, though I’m not sure anyone has ever snorted ‘gutter glitter’ or smoked a ‘cancer stick’, even in Paris six years ago. But in the end, this doesn’t really matter: the moment is caught whenever a ...

Every Young Boy’s Dream

James Meek: Michel Houellebecq, 14 November 2002

by Michel Houellebecq, translated by Frank Wynne.
Heinemann, 362 pp., £12.99, September 2002, 9780434009893
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... This is the third of Michel Houellebecq’s novels, and in it, as in the previous two, his hero yearns, mostly in vain, for men and women who are strangers to each other to reach out spontaneously and touch each other: for men to be able to dispense with verbal courtship, for women to put aside cultural restraint, discrimination and any desire to be seduced; and for the sexes to spend as much time as they can cope with in mutually rewarding fornication ...

Solve, Struggle, Invent

Rachel Nolan: Cuba Speaks, 6 June 2024

How Things Fall Apart: What Happened to the Cuban Revolution 
by Elizabeth Dore.
Apollo, 341 pp., £10.99, August 2023, 978 1 80328 381 4
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The Tribe: Portraits of Cuba 
by Carlos Manuel Álvarez, translated by Frank Wynne and Rahul Bery.
Fitzcarraldo, 336 pp., £12.99, May 2022, 978 1 913097 91 2
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... In​ 1968, Fidel Castro invited an American anthropologist called Oscar Lewis to interview Cubans about their lives. Lewis was famous for an oral history project, conducted in a Mexico City slum, which he had turned into a book called The Children of Sánchez (1961). By recounting a poor family’s struggles and hustles, legal and otherwise, Lewis angered the country’s ruling party, which still described itself as ‘revolutionary ...

Memories of Frank Kermode

Stefan Collini, Karl Miller, Adam Phillips, Jacqueline Rose, James Wood, Michael Wood and Wynne Godley, 23 September 2010

... writes: ‘Yes, I’d like that very much. That really would be something to look forward to.’ Frank was already weakened and wasted by throat cancer, but my suggestion that we go to watch some cricket at Fenner’s did seem genuinely to appeal to him. There wasn’t much to look forward to by this point. On the appointed day the weather was kind, and ...

Enrique of the Silver Tongue

Christopher Tayler: A ‘Novel without Fiction’, 22 March 2018

The Impostor 
by Javier Cercas, translated by Frank Wynne.
MacLehose Press, 429 pp., £20, November 2017, 978 0 85705 650 4
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... Enric Marco​ , an energetic pensioner with time on his hands, joined the Amical de Mauthausen, an association of Spanish survivors of the Nazi concentration camps, in 1999. To the elderly Republican deportados and their heirs who ran the outfit on a shoestring from an attic in Barcelona, he soon came to seem a useful person to have around. Under Franco the Amical had been a clandestine organisation providing legal advice and practical support ...

Nothing he hasn’t done, nowhere he hasn’t been

Adam Shatz: Claude Lanzmann, 5 April 2012

The Patagonian Hare: A Memoir 
by Claude Lanzmann, translated by Frank Wynne.
Atlantic, 528 pp., £25, March 2012, 978 1 84887 360 5
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... The life of Claude Lanzmann, Claude Lanzmann declares at the beginning of his memoir, has been ‘a rich, multifaceted and unique story’. Self-flattery is characteristically Lanzmannian, but its truth in this case can hardly be denied. He has lived on a grand scale. A teenage fighter in the Resistance, he became Sartre’s protégé in the early 1950s as an editor at Les Temps modernes ...

Clutching at Insanity

Frank Kermode: Winnicott and psychoanalysis, 4 March 2004

Winnicott: Life and Work 
by Robert Rodman.
Perseus, 461 pp., $30, May 2003, 0 7382 0397 1
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... very close to Klein, and his wife was a patient of hers. Readers of this journal may recall Wynne Godley’s complaint that his analyst, Masud Khan, was himself a patient and confidant of Winnicott – Robert Rodman even conjectures a homosexual attraction – all the time he was treating Godley in such extraordinary ways.* And Godley’s stepdaughter ...


Nicholas Spice: Karl Miller is leaving, 5 November 1992

... the famously taciturn Mende tribe); in a cryptic rubric on the front cover (‘Gray’s Elegy, and Wynne Godley’s’ – one of Karl’s recent ones – achieves an almost Japanese inscrutability and aesthetic poise); in the choice of a cover picture (once, for the Christmas Issue, Karl chose the photograph of an old Jew in the Lodz Ghetto peering through a ...

Saving Masud Khan

Wynne Godley, 22 February 2001

... any objection to seeing a Pakistani analyst. As I left he said, very kindly, ‘You have been very frank with me,’ adding: ‘I think you were a lonely child.’I arranged an appointment with Masud Khan from my office in the Treasury, where I was now an economic adviser, and he met me at the foot of the stairs leading to his attic apartment in Harley ...

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