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Once a Syrian, always a Syrian

Maria Margaronis: Joseph O’Neill, 8 March 2001

Blood-Dark Track: A Family History 
by Joseph O'Neill.
Granta, 338 pp., £16.99, February 2001, 1 86207 288 4
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... Joseph O’Neill’s grandfathers, one Irish, the other Turkish, were both imprisoned without trial during World War Two. Jim O’Neill was arrested in 1940, when Eamon de Valera’s Government, fearful that IRA activities might compromise Eire’s neutrality, rounded up all known IRA men ...

Room Theory

Adam Mars-Jones: Joseph O’Neill, 25 September 2014

The Dog 
by Joseph O’Neill.
Fourth Estate, 241 pp., £16.99, July 2014, 978 0 00 727574 8
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... Part Two), you’d better follow through with something formidable – as Under the Volcano does. Joseph O’Neill’s second epigraph for his new novel, The Dog, is from Kierkegaard’s Either/Or (‘I feel as a chessman must feel when the opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved’), his first from Macbeth: ‘Here’s the smell of the blood ...

Men in White

Benjamin Kunkel: Another Ian McEwan!, 17 July 2008

by Joseph O’Neill.
Fourth Estate, 247 pp., £14.99, May 2008, 978 0 00 726906 8
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... for Hades. The ambiguous title fits a novel remarkable for its complex geographical situation. Joseph O’Neill, with his mixed Irish and Turkish parentage, and a childhood spent partly in the Hague, now lives in New York City. Hans is more simply Dutch, born and raised. His wife, Rachel, is English, though she gives birth to their son in New ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: ‘Inside the Dream Palace’, 6 February 2014

... Crane, up through Thomas Wolfe, and on to anyone you care to name, sliding to an elegant halt with Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland. Largely it’s the names, not the work. You almost get the impression that Arthur Miller might have written After the Fall there, but it was mostly done in Connecticut; or that Kerouac might have written On the Road ...

Why am I so fucked up?

Christian Lorentzen: 37 Shades of Zadie, 8 November 2012

by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 295 pp., £18.99, August 2012, 978 0 241 14414 5
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... or a kinder, gentler James Wood? In ‘Two Paths for the Novel’, she looked at books by Joseph O’Neill and Tom McCarthy. Realism, it seemed, was on the run, and it turned out that novels in English could still be vehicles for avant-garde ideas. Why not try to be James Joyce? A bit wobbly and lopsided by design, NW is a hotchpotch in five ...

Into the Underworld

Iain Sinclair: The Hackney Underworld, 22 January 2015

... a space that very soon became a single compacted block, an uncelebrated curation in the spirit of Joseph Beuys, or Phyllida Barlow’s recent mounds at Tate Britain. The higher they stack the investment silos of target architecture, the more those condemned to live in fallout shadows dig and scrape. A dowser and ley line tracker called Alan Hayday, formerly ...


John Sutherland, 15 September 1988

The Secret Life of Wilkie Collins 
by William Clarke.
Allison and Busby, 239 pp., £14.95, August 1988, 0 85031 960 9
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Wilkie Collins: Women, Property and Propriety 
by Philip O’Neill.
Macmillan, 238 pp., £27.50, September 1988, 9780333421994
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... doses of laudanum, an abuse which he continued until his death. In October 1868, Caroline married Joseph Clow. Why is mysterious. Clarke suggests it was a bluff on her part that backfired. Even more mysterious is that Wilkie attended the wedding – an act of extraordinary impudence. Nine months later Martha Rudd bore Wilkie’s first child. By the time she ...

Opprobrious Epithets

Katrina Navickas: The Peterloo Massacre, 20 December 2018

Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre 
by Jacqueline Riding.
Head of Zeus, 386 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 1 78669 583 3
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... Hunt and nine local leaders were tried at York for high treason; Samuel Bamford, John Knight, Joseph Healey and Joseph Johnson were sentenced to a year in prison on the lesser charge of seditious conspiracy; Hunt got two and a half years. The repercussions of the legislation and the trial were felt nationally, and the ...

In the Sorting Office

James Meek, 28 April 2011

... It was late Friday afternoon and a group of young salarymen were ordering a round of what Joseph O’Neill called ‘the gold-and-white gadgets that are Dutch glasses of beer’. Groen stood out with his hoodie and his exhaustion. ‘The TNT strategy was “We want to be one of the big players, like FedEx or UPS,” and it failed, of ...

Extraordinarily Graceful Exits from Power

Nicholas Guyatt: George Washington’s Reticence, 17 November 2005

His Excellency George Washington 
by Joseph J. Ellis.
Faber, 320 pp., £20, March 2005, 0 571 21212 3
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... Texas ranch, and gives nicknames to the members of his cabinet. (‘Pablo’ for the hapless Paul O’Neill; ‘Z-Man’ for Robert Zoellick.) George Washington, on the other hand, was so aloof that even his contemporaries tried to make light of the fact. According to one story, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, Alexander Hamilton ...


Hal Foster: Curation, 4 June 2015

Ways of Curating 
by Hans Ulrich Obrist.
Penguin, 192 pp., £9.99, March 2015, 978 0 241 95096 8
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Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World – And Everything Else 
by David Balzer.
Pluto, 140 pp., £8.99, April 2015, 978 0 7453 3597 1
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... The Surrealists​ liked to proclaim that everyone who dreams is a poet, and Joseph Beuys that everyone who creates is an artist. So much for the utopian days of aesthetic egalitarianism; maybe the best we can say today is that everyone who compiles is a curator. We curate our favourite photographs, songs and restaurants, or use numerous websites and applications to do it for us ...

All of Denmark was at his feet

John Sutherland, 12 May 1994

John Steinbeck: A Biography 
by Jay Parini.
Heinemann, 605 pp., £20, March 1994, 0 434 57492 9
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... nature’. There are laureates who are unequivocally deserving on straight literary criteria – O’Neill, Eliot, Faulkner, Hemingway, Singer, Bellow, Morrison. There are others – Sinclair Lewis, Pearl S. Buck and John Steinbeck – for whom non-literary factors seem to have been at work. With Steinbeck one can guess what the factors were. Europeans have ...

You Have A Mother Don’t You?

Andrew O’Hagan: Cowboy Simplicities, 11 September 2003

Searching for John Ford: A Life 
by Joseph McBride.
Faber, 838 pp., £25, May 2003, 0 571 20075 3
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... failure. On the strength of that one film I would love to read a thorough life of Ford (such as Joseph McBride managed for Frank Capra, that other fragile hero). The reasons Ford ‘has such defenders’ are amply supplied in the book McBride has now written about him, which shows how we might do better not to understand our enemies too quickly, how even ...

Swiftly Encircling Gloom

Tim Radford, 8 May 1997

Promising The Earth 
by Robert Lamb.
Routledge, 204 pp., £35, September 1996, 0 415 14443 4
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... Sloane not just for Sloane Square and milk chocolate, but for the Natural History Museum. Without Joseph Banks and Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace we would not understand how acutely dependent we are on nature’s goods and services, and it was the Swedish chemist and Nobel Prize-winner Svante Arrhenius who, a hundred years ago, first discussed the ...

Pseud’s Corner

John Sutherland, 17 July 1980

by Dan Kavanagh.
Cape, 181 pp., £4.95, July 1980, 0 224 01822 1
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Moscow Gold 
by John Salisbury.
Futura, 320 pp., £1.10, March 1980, 0 7088 1702 5
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The Middle Ground 
by Margaret Drabble.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £5.95, June 1980, 0 297 77808 0
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The Boy Who Followed Ripley 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 292 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 434 33520 7
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... and wishing to provide for his family – Burgess was driven to the expedient of writing as ‘Joseph Kell’ (by association with the Book of Kells, I have always assumed). Reprieved, Burgess as Burgess mischievously reviewed a production of Burgess as Kell. Doubtless if the annals of pseudonymy were opened up one would find many such frolics. As well as ...

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