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No-Shit Dinosaur

Jon Day: Karen Russell, 2 June 2011

by Karen Russell.
Chatto, 316 pp., £12.99, March 2011, 978 0 7011 8602 9
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... hand, are more subtle, creating some distance between us and their tellers, if not their tales. Karen Russell’s exclamation marks reveal varying degrees of insincerity, but they are always employed with a Nabokovian lightness of touch. Swamplandia! – her second book and first novel – wears its exhortation nonchalantly. Lottery tickets are branded ...

Father of the Light Bulb

J. Robert Lennon: Kurt Vonnegut, 22 February 2018

Kurt Vonnegut: Complete Stories 
edited by Jerome Klinkowitz and Dan Wakefield.
Seven Stories, 911 pp., £29.99, November 2017, 978 1 60980 808 2
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... full of collections of ‘dark fables’, often by celebrated short story writers – Kelly Link, Karen Russell – as well as newcomers such as Lesley Nneka Arimah and Carmen Maria Machado. Perhaps what Eggers means isn’t moral fiction, but morally simplistic fiction: stories that give up their insights easily, that demand little of the reader. The ...

Holy Terrors

Penelope Fitzgerald, 4 December 1986

‘Elizabeth’: The Author of ‘Elizabeth and her German Garden’ 
by Karen Usborne.
Bodley Head, 341 pp., £15, October 1986, 0 370 30887 5
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Alison Uttley: The Life of a Country Child 
by Denis Judd.
Joseph, 264 pp., £15.95, October 1986, 0 7181 2449 9
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Richmal Crompton: The Woman behind William 
by Mary Cadogan.
Allen and Unwin, 169 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 04 928054 6
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... quite recaptured this touch till Vera (1921), which describes her second marriage, to Francis Russell. This book made his brother, Bertrand Russell, decide to warn his children never to marry a novelist. Elizabeth published 22 novels and lived in 35 different houses, leaving a mass of papers, letters and diaries. They ...

I Love You Still

Russell Jacoby, 9 February 1995

Intellectuals in Exile: Refugee Scholars and the New School for Social Research 
by Claus-Dieter Krohn, translated by Rita Kimber and Robert Kimber.
Massachusetts, 255 pp., $15.95, July 1994, 0 87023 864 7
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... his argument. A study that considered others who taught at the New School like Leo Strauss or Karen Horney or Hannah Arendt would hardly have to strain to demonstrate their impact. But one that wants to show the influence of Karl Brandt, Gerhard Colm, Arthur Feiler, Eduard Heimann, Emil Lederer and Frieda Wunderlich – to take the original group of ...

Carers or Consumers?

Barbara Taylor: 18th-Century Women, 4 November 2010

Women and Enlightenment in 18th-Century Britain 
by Karen O’Brien.
Cambridge, 310 pp., £17.99, March 2009, 978 0 521 77427 7
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... by masculine greed and individualism. Feminine ‘affections’, the Scottish philosophe William Russell wrote in 1773, ‘are in the commerce of the world what current money is in trade: they are sometimes not absolutely necessary, but one can never safely be without them … The women correct that rudeness which pride and passion introduce into the company ...

Into the Underworld

Iain Sinclair: The Hackney Underworld, 22 January 2015

... prisoner in the white-walled earth kiln ran into technical difficulties with her presentation. Karen Russo, a young Israeli artist, had developed a fascination with William Lyttle, the so-called ‘Mole Man’ of Hackney. Lyttle, talked up by estate agents promoting the auction of the ruined shell of his former house, a gothic property wedged like a ghost ...

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