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Patrick Parrinder, 26 July 1990

The Sorrow of Belgium 
by Hugo Claus, translated by Arnold Pomerans.
Viking, 609 pp., £14.99, June 1990, 0 670 81456 3
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by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
Virago, 260 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 1 85381 158 0
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A Sensible Life 
by Mary Wesley.
Bantam, 364 pp., £12.95, March 1990, 9780593019306
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The Light Years 
by Elizabeth Jane Howard.
Macmillan, 418 pp., £12.95, June 1990, 0 333 53875 7
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... literary theorist Paul de Man. But what about the ordinary people of the Low Countries? Hugo Claus’s The Sorrow of Belgium, a novel first published in Holland in 1983, presents a world in which collaboration with the Nazis is made to seem as inevitable as breathing. The protagonist, Louis Seynaeve, who is ten years old at the time of ...

Agamemnon, Smith and Thomson

Claude Rawson, 9 April 1992

Homer: The ‘Iliad’ 
translated by Robert Fagles.
Viking, 683 pp., £17.95, September 1990, 0 670 83510 2
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by Christopher Logue.
Faber, 86 pp., £4.99, March 1991, 0 571 16141 3
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... self-preoccupied gesturing and accesses of information-sharing: As in the spring of 1961 Elly and Hugo Claus and I Smoked as we watched The people of the town of Skopje Stroll back and forth across their fountained square, Safe in their murmur on our balcony, One dusk, not long before an earthquake tipped Themselves and their society aside. It’s a ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The Matrix, 22 May 2003

... Trinity (Moss). He goes on to fight the forces of evil, chief among them a certain Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), who is endowed with irresistible menace, and in the process undergoes apotheosis, emerging finally as ‘the One’, to nobody’s very great surprise. All of which is of course guaranteed to please the crowds. The style, stunts and special ...

No boozing, no donkeys

George O’Brien: Hugo Hamilton, 10 July 2003

The Speckled People 
by Hugo Hamilton.
Fourth Estate, 298 pp., £15.99, February 2003, 0 00 714805 4
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... Hugo Hamilton was born in 1953 to an Irish father and a German mother. When he was growing up, as he writes in this remarkable memoir, he spent a lot of time trying to prove that he wasn’t a Nazi. But he never could. The sight of somebody in lederhosen and an Aran sweater was irresistible to the local bullies. Later, his peers at the prestigious Coláiste Mhuire were just as intolerant ...

I write in Condé

Alexandra Reza, 12 May 2022

Crossing the Mangrove 
by Maryse Condé, translated by Richard Philcox.
Penguin, 170 pp., £9.99, September 2021, 978 0 241 53005 4
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Waiting for the Waters to Rise 
by Maryse Condé, translated by Richard Philcox.
World Editions, 282 pp., £12.99, August 2021, 978 1 912987 15 3
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L’Évangile du nouveau monde 
by Maryse Condé.
Buchet Chastel, 287 pp., €20, September 2021, 978 2 283 03544 3
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... slogans, she writes that ‘Fidel, with his white goatee, was now nothing but a Santa Claus without a sack of gifts.’ But she never quite renounces them. ‘This Négritude that I so contested in the past now seems to me to be the last magnificent dream for our humanity,’ she said in 2009, ‘a political dream where the barriers between our ...

The Suitcase

Frances Stonor Saunders, 30 July 2020

... to my brother Alexander. Bear with me. Roy’s wife, Valerie, was godmother to my younger brother, Hugo (technically, he is my half-brother), and Valerie and Roy’s eldest son, another Alexander, was Donald’s godson. Two families roped together in friendship and event. Alexander, who is now sixty, lives quite close to me in London, but I haven’t seen much ...

The Breakaway

Perry Anderson: Goodbye Europe, 21 January 2021

... be a substitute for empire, and that was sufficient; likewise his colleagues. As the journalist Hugo Young put it, ‘the deep, existential meaning, for Britain, of getting into “Europe” was not considered.’ No serious thought was given to the implications of accession. In his judgment, ‘ministers did not lie, but they avoided telling the full ...

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