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Letting out the Inner Pig

James Peach: Marie Darrieussecq

16 September 1999
My Phantom Husband 
by Marie Darrieussecq, translated by Helen Stevenson.
Faber, 153 pp., £9.99, July 1999, 0 571 19663 2
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... wife who seems to be writing a bad detective novel about her husband’s disappearance ‘after years of neglect on my part’. My Phantom Husband also has a different translator from Pig Tales – HelenStevenson rather than Linda Coverdale – and suffers from uncomfortable moments. Translation, like contraception, is better if it is never felt. ‘Who had detained him on the streets of the suburb ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: New Writing

8 March 2001
... and I can’t see that it matters terribly. An equally shaky criticism of the series might be directed at the number of familiar names on the contents page: Barbara Trapido, Anthony Thwaite, Anne Stevenson, Alan Brownjohn, Helen Simpson, Andrew Motion, Michael Hofmann, Alan Sillitoe, Louis de Bernières and Geoff Dyer are ten of them, and ‘new’ isn’t the first word that springs to mind. But there ...

Knucklehead Truman

Douglas Johnson

2 June 1983
The Eisenhower Diaries 
edited by Robert Ferrell.
Norton, 445 pp., £15.25, April 1983, 0 393 01432 0
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The Life and Times of Joe McCarthy: A Biography 
by Thomas Reeves.
Blond and Briggs, 819 pp., £11.95, June 1983, 0 85634 131 2
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The past has another pattern 
by George Ball.
Norton, 544 pp., £14.95, September 1982, 0 393 01481 9
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Torn Lace Curtain 
by Frank Saunders and James Southwood.
Sidgwick, 361 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 283 98946 7
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The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power 
by Robert Caro.
Collins, 882 pp., £15, February 1983, 0 00 217062 0
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The Politician: The Life and Times of Lyndon Johnson 
by Ronnie Dugger.
Norton, 514 pp., £13.25, September 1982, 9780393015980
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Years of Upheaval 
by Henry Kissinger.
Weidenfeld/Joseph, 1312 pp., £15.95, March 1982, 0 7181 2115 5
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Richard Nixon: The Shaping of his Character 
by Fawn Brodie.
Norton, 574 pp., £14.95, October 1982, 0 393 01467 3
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Haig: The General’s Progress 
by Roger Morris.
Robson, 458 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 9780860511885
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Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President 
by Jimmy Carter.
Collins, 622 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 00 216648 8
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Crisis: The Last Year of the Carter Presidency 
by Hamilton Jordan.
Joseph, 431 pp., £12.95, November 1982, 0 7181 2248 8
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Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser 1977-81 
by Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Weidenfeld, 587 pp., £15, April 1983, 0 297 78220 7
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... of Marshall, to whom he personally owed a great deal. Nixon, whom he always supported, even in the most suspicious circumstances, vied with McCarthy in his denunciations of Truman, Acheson, Adlai Stevenson and many others, as the leaders of a Red conspiracy which was seeking to submerge America. On no occasion requiring political courage did President Eisenhower show himself to be courageous. Thomas ...

Productive Mischief

Michael Wood: Borges and Borges and I

4 February 1999
Collected Fictions 
by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Andrew Hurley.
Allen Lane, 565 pp., £20, January 1999, 0 14 028680 2
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... Borges by mail and I see his name on a shortlist of professors or in a biographical dictionary. I like hour-glasses, maps, 17th-century typography, etymologies, the taste of coffee and the prose of Stevenson; the other man shares those preferences, but in a boastful way which converts them into the attributes of an actor ... Years ago I tried to free myself from him and moved from mythologies of the ...
13 May 1993
Nixon: A Life 
by Jonathan Aitken.
Weidenfeld, 633 pp., £25, January 1993, 0 297 81259 9
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... Nixon with phone numbers of young women in Paris when he heard Nixon was going there. In 1950 JFK handed Nixon a $1,000 campaign contribution from his father for the bitter Senate fight against Helen Douglas. No less ironic is the way Nixon, as Vice-President, rushed to visit an apparently dying JFK in hospital in 1954, prompting an effusive letter of thanks from Jackie (‘I don’t think there ...
26 July 2017
... Moore thought they belonged. ‘The Meeting of the Waters’ no doubt owed much of its popularity to the traditional air ‘The Old Head of Dennis’, to which it was set by the Dublin composer John Stevenson. But the words too were responsible for the song’s great appeal: There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet; Oh! the last rays of feeling ...

The Excursions

Andrew O’Hagan

16 June 2011
... from England and not keen to please. With a huff and a puff, a round of fish was offered. (It was horrible, served on a bed of gravel.) We drank Talisker – the Skye malt, favourite of Robert Louis Stevenson – and tore the strips off some small sachets of tartare sauce while the landlady told us how annoying it was to see Czech incumbents at her local church. Seamus has small tolerance for intolerance ...

A Cousin of Colonel Heneage

Robert Crawford: Was Eliot a Swell?

18 April 2019
The Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume VIII: 1936-38 
edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden.
Faber, 1100 pp., £50, January, 978 0 571 31638 0
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... also unsettles them. We see him holidaying in a caravan, weeping at a performance of Chekhov’s Three Sisters and defending lesbian fiction. Eliot isn’t a scintillating letter-writer like Keats or Stevenson, but sometimes readers are led back to the poetry from fresh angles – and not least from the ‘cousin of Colonel Heneage’ angle. It’s typical that he remembered Colonel Heneage’s name ...

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