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The Future of John Barth

Michael Irwin, 5 June 1980

Letters 
by John Barth.
Secker, 772 pp., £7.95, May 1980, 0 436 03674 6
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The Left-Handed Woman 
by Peter Handke, translated by Ralph Manheim.
Eyre Methuen, 94 pp., £4.95, April 1980, 0 413 45890 3
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Passion Play 
by Jerzy Kosinski.
Joseph, 271 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 7181 1913 4
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... of neglecting the larger context from which those fragments must derive their significance. Jerzy Kosinski is another writer who deals in fragments. Passion Play suggests that he may do so largely as a means of disguising his lack of capacity to tell a story, to write dialogue or to create character. The comment may read like a sneer but is not ...

Ambassadors

Pat Rogers, 3 June 1982

The Samurai 
by Shusaku Endo, translated by Van C. Gessel.
Peter Owen, 272 pp., £8.95, May 1982, 0 7206 0559 8
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The Obedient Wife 
by Julia O’Faolain.
Allen Lane, 230 pp., £7.50, May 1982, 9780713914672
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Pinball 
by Jerzy Kosinski.
Joseph, 287 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 0 7181 2133 3
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Brother of the More Famous Jack 
by Barbara Trapido.
Gollancz, 218 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 0 575 03112 3
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... Subtly Julia O’Faolain brings out the invasion of the temporary upon enduring feelings. If Jerzy Kosinski did anything subtly, it would be a surprise, and in Pinball he never comes within a million miles of it. The title, by the way, is quite pointless, despite two final paragraphs evidently written when the author woke up to its utter ...

Shut your eyes as tight as you can

Gabriele Annan, 21 March 1996

A Woman in Amber: Healing the Trauma of War and Exile 
by Agate Nesaule.
Soho, 280 pp., $24, December 1995, 1 56947 046 4
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... agony aunt, the other a chronicler who can make one think of Primo Levi (she herself thinks of Jerzy Kosinski)? As a 12-year-old arrival in Indianapolis she taught herself to read English from Gone with the Wind. Perhaps, after what she had lived through, ordinary American life never seemed more real than an airport ...

The Dollar Tree

Tobias Jones, 11 December 1997

Hand To Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 436 pp., £15.99, November 1997, 0 571 17149 4
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... sits by lean Genet’s side on the podium translating his words as he speaks, rubs shoulders with Jerzy Kosinski, John Lennon and Arthur Cohen.) The cast of other characters is often barely credible, a hint perhaps that there is invention and embellishment in the seeming straight-talk: Casey and Teddy, ‘a couple of clowns from the days of vaudeville ...

‘Beyond Criticism’

Eliane Glaser: Concentration Camp Memoirs, 20 November 2008

Under Two Dictators: Prisoner of Stalin and Hitler 
by Margarete Buber-Neumann, translated by Edward Fitzgerald.
Pimlico, 350 pp., £17.99, January 2008, 978 1 84595 102 3
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... Wilkomirski’s Fragments was also revealed to be a fake, and the veracity of The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski has been questioned by many, including Eliot Weinberger. The reaction to these discoveries has been oddly mixed. When doubts began to circulate about Fragments, Deborah Lipstadt wrote in the Forward that if the story told there were untrue it ...

Beltz’s Beaux

D.A.N. Jones, 3 March 1983

Marienbad 
by Sholom Aleichem, translated by Aliza Shevrin.
Weidenfeld, 222 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 297 78200 2
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A Coin in Nine Hands 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated by Dori Katz.
Aidan Ellis, 192 pp., £7.95, January 1983, 0 85628 123 9
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Entry into Jerusalem 
by Stanley Middleton.
Hutchinson, 172 pp., £7.50, January 1983, 0 09 150950 5
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People Who Knock on the Door 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 306 pp., £7.95, January 1983, 0 434 33521 5
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A Visit from the Footbinder 
by Emily Prager.
Chatto, 174 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 7011 2675 2
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Dusklands 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 125 pp., £6.95, January 1983, 9780436102967
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... Prager thanks Mr Baker for letting her put him in her story; and she also thanks the novelist, Jerzy Kosinski, for not objecting to his presence in her tale, ‘The Alumnae Bulletin’ – an account of a group of New York graduates who wear wooden phalluses at their reunions (to represent their penis-envy) while they discuss the men they have had ...

The crematorium is a zoo

Joshua Cohen: H.G. Adler, 3 March 2016

The Wall 
by H.G. Adler, translated by Peter Filkins.
Modern Library, 672 pp., £12.99, September 2015, 978 0 8129 8315 9
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... Along with Primo Levi, Tadeusz Borowski, Aharon Appelfeld, Piotr Rawicz, Jakov Lind and Jerzy Kosinski, he elided events and fashioned composite characters to attain a sense of realism – but that doesn’t mean that Auschwitz was a hoax, or that Israel is illegitimate. Writers who survived don’t seem to be allowed the same licence as ...

I adore your moustache

James Wolcott: Styron’s Letters, 24 January 2013

Selected Letters of William Styron 
edited by Rose Styron and R. Blakeslee Gilpin.
Random House, 643 pp., £24.99, December 2012, 978 1 4000 6806 7
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... officer at the ad agency whose long name still ends in Benton and Bowles. That little rat, Jerzy R. Kosinski, thought Conrad was a good subject to bring up with him, but it didn’t interest him very much. All the while, host Bill Styron looking a bit subdued as usual these days; we talked about Randall Jarrell’s ...

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