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Aunts and Uncles

Michael Hofmann

19 November 1992
A Feast in the Garden 
by George Konrad, translated by Imre Goldstein.
Faber, 394 pp., £14.99, October 1992, 0 571 16623 7
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Wartime Lies 
by Louis Begley.
Picador, 198 pp., £5.99, August 1992, 0 330 32099 8
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Brothers 
by Carmelo Samona, translated by Linda Lappin.
Carcanet, 131 pp., £13.95, August 1992, 0 85635 990 4
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Rolling 
by Thomas Healy.
Polygon, 161 pp., £7.95, July 1992, 0 7486 6121 2
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... suitcase; his pathetic nest-building sexpots of women; his terminally self-admiring writers. Louis Begley’s Wartime Lies won the Ernest Hemingway and Aer Lingus prizes when it came out last year, and the paperback carries glowing tributes from Christopher Hope and Paul Bailey. I don’t find myself reaching for superlatives like them, but it ...

All he does is write his novel

Christian Lorentzen: Updike

4 June 2014
Updike 
by Adam Begley.
Harper, 558 pp., £25, April 2014, 978 0 06 189645 3
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... down. (Called Home, it was dismantled and used for spare parts.) But one gets the sense from Adam Begley’s sharp and diverting biography that he felt a little bit dead anytime a piece under his byline (or, in the old New Yorker, with his name at the end) wasn’t on the newsstands. ‘Johnny knew it was possible to be a writer because he saw me ...

Sad Stories

Adam Begley

5 January 1989
Capote: A Biography 
by Gerald Clarke.
Hamish Hamilton, 632 pp., £16.95, July 1988, 0 241 12549 9
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Jean Stafford: A Biography 
by David Roberts.
Chatto, 494 pp., £16.95, August 1988, 0 7011 3010 5
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... Crowe Ransom and Delmore Schwartz, and that later she married A.J. Liebling and was friends with Louis Auchincloss, Wilfrid Sheed and Howard Moss, does not suffice. Roberts hopes to add spice to his book by playing detective with Stafford’s medical record – this also does not suffice. Stafford escaped from an unhappy Colorado home by applying herself at ...

Who Owns Kafka?

Judith Butler

3 March 2011
... one of Kafka’s quips about the Jewish people: ‘My people, provided that I have one.’ As Louis Begley has recently made clear in a quite candid biographical essay, Kafka remained not only in two minds about Jewishness, but sometimes quite clearly torn apart. ‘What have I in common with Jews?’ he wrote in a diary entry in 1914. ‘I have ...

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