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The Family That Slays Together

Deborah Friedell: Lorrie Moore, 19 November 2009

A Gate at the Stairs 
by Lorrie Moore.
Faber, 322 pp., £16.99, October 2009, 978 0 571 19530 5
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... way words sound, a double seeing that allows her to consider words apart from their meanings – Jonathan Lethem calls it Moore’s sense of ‘the thingliness of words’. Rhymes and puns are everywhere, with an extravagance that wouldn’t be out of place in a Renaissance drama. When Tassie’s dim younger brother fails a test because he ‘said ...

A Preference for Torquemada

Michael Wood: G.K. Chesterton, 9 April 2009

Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy: The Making of GKC 1874-1908 
by William Oddie.
Oxford, 401 pp., £25, November 2008, 978 0 19 955165 1
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The Man Who Was Thursday 
by G.K. Chesterton.
Atlantic, 187 pp., £7.99, December 2008, 978 1 84354 905 5
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... remembering’, ‘a conflation of the period recalled with the process of recalling it’. Jonathan Lethem, in his very sharp introduction to a Modern Library reprint of The Man Who Was Thursday, says the novel is ‘far too personal and strange to parse as an allegory of Chesterton’s Catholicism’, and he is right. Or rather, it is too ...

Whisky and Soda Man

Thomas Jones: J.G. Ballard, 10 April 2008

Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton – An Autobiography 
by J.G. Ballard.
Fourth Estate, 278 pp., £14.99, February 2008, 978 0 00 727072 9
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... any good, either, which is to overlook not only the work of such writers as William Gibson and Jonathan Lethem, but also Ronald Moore’s remake of Battlestar Galactica, a TV series that’s as intelligent, nuanced and unflinching an examination of the United States’ post-9/11 militarism, foreign policy and relation to the un-American other as you ...

Kick over the Scenery

Stephanie Burt: Philip K. Dick, 3 July 2008

Four Novels of the 1960s: ‘The Man in the High Castle’, ‘The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch’, ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, ‘Ubik’ 
by Philip K. Dick.
Library of America, 830 pp., $35, May 2008, 978 1 59853 009 4
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Five Novels of the 1960s and 1970s: ‘Martian Time-Slip’, ‘Dr Bloodmoney’, ‘Now Wait for Last Year’, ‘Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said’, ‘A Scanner Darkly’ 
by Philip K. Dick.
Library of America, 1128 pp., $40, August 2008, 978 1 59853 025 4
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... his interviews and his complete short stories in five volumes (there is also a selection by Jonathan Lethem in one volume). And in a final sign of respectability, the Library of America – whose enterprise began with Melville and Hawthorne – now offers Dick in two volumes, with more promised soon: the first volume, released in 2007, sold faster ...

In Hyperspace

Fredric Jameson, 10 September 2015

Time Travel: The Popular Philosophy of Narrative 
by David Wittenberg.
Fordham, 288 pp., £18.99, March 2013, 978 0 8232 4997 8
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... to share generic features with its more popular cousins, but it doesn’t; Cormac McCarthy and Jonathan Lethem are not of the same genre as Philip K. Dick, however long Margaret Atwood managed to ‘pass’. Indeed, the solution may actually be a rather simple one, namely that modernism is not a genre, while SF emphatically is – and this opens up ...

Strap on an ox-head

Patricia Lockwood: Christ comes to Stockholm, 6 January 2022

The Morning Star 
by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated by Martin Aitken.
Harvill Secker, 666 pp., £20, September 2021, 978 1 910701 71 3
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... sobbing over the death of his grandmother.Critical response to this undertaking has been maniacal. Jonathan Lethem calls Knausgaard ‘a living hero who landed on greatness by abandoning every typical literary feint, an emperor whose nakedness surpasses royal finery’. That is objectively an Orson Welles parody, but here’s the thing: I was as excited ...

Sisyphus at the Selectric

James Wolcott: Undoing Philip Roth, 20 May 2021

Philip Roth: The Biography 
by Blake Bailey.
Cape, 898 pp., £30, April, 978 0 224 09817 5
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Philip Roth: A Counterlife 
by Ira Nadel.
Oxford, 546 pp., £22.99, May, 978 0 19 984610 8
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Here We Are: My Friendship with Philip Roth 
by Benjamin Taylor.
Penguin, 192 pp., £18, May 2020, 978 0 525 50524 2
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... Roth: Unmasked; and for his eightieth birthday he was given an all-star tribute in Newark where Jonathan Lethem, Edna O’Brien and Hermione Lee, among others, held his genius up to the jewelled light with a series appreciation later collected in Philip Roth at Eighty: A Celebration (a Library of America special publication). A year later, comity ...

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