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Fue el estado

Tony Wood: Elmer Mendoza, 2 June 2016

Silver Bullets 
by Elmer Mendoza, translated by Mark Fried.
MacLehose Press, 240 pp., £14.99, April 2015, 978 1 85705 258 9
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... piso a alguien, literally ‘to give someone floor’, means to rub them out; encobijado, which Mark Fried renders rather dubiously as ‘gangsta-wrap’, refers to a dead body wrapped in a blanket (cobija) and left in a public place – one of the narcos’ grisly calling cards. It’s not just the Sinaloan narco-lexicon that makes Mendoza’s prose ...

Flirting with Dissolution

Mark Ford: August Kleinzahler, 5 April 2001

Live from the Hong Kong Nile Club: Poems 1975-90 
by August Kleinzahler.
Faber, 82 pp., £8.99, September 2000, 0 571 20428 7
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... hearts In the final lines their legacy is presented equivocally as ‘celluloid in flames,/the fried image and random splice,/wild parabolas, butchery’. While this poem betrays more than a trace of anxiety about his indebtedness to O’Hara, it also keeps its distance from Pollock and O’Hara’s melodramatic ‘culte de soi’. In their differing ...

We Do Ron Ron Ron, We Do Ron Ron

James Meek: Welcome to McDonald’s, 24 May 2001

Fast-Food Nation 
by Eric Schlosser.
Allen Lane, 356 pp., £9.99, April 2001, 0 7139 9602 1
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... with steam, blasted through the Knife, screened and trimmed for blemishes, blanched, dried, deep-fried, quick-frozen, sorted into six-pound bags and packed into boxes – with a minimum of human intervention. At McDonald’s and the other chains, everything is cooked from frozen, rehydrated from powder or reconstituted from syrup. At International Flavours ...

Earthworm on Zither

Paul Grimstad: Raymond Roussel, 26 April 2012

Impressions of Africa 
by Raymond Roussel, translated by Mark Polizzotti.
Dalkey, 280 pp., £10.99, June 2011, 978 1 56478 624 1
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New Impressions of Africa 
by Raymond Roussel, translated by Mark Ford.
Princeton, 264 pp., £16.95, April 2011, 978 0 691 14459 7
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... the re-enactments. In an informative introduction to his translation of Impressions d’Afrique, Mark Polizzotti describes in some detail his effort to arrive at an English comparable to Roussel’s near mathematically concise French. The author of a biography of Breton, a short book on Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited, and a translator of Echenoz, among ...

Blimey

Gillian Darley: James Stirling, 7 September 2000

Big Jim: The Life and Work of James Stirling 
by Mark Girouard.
Pimlico, 323 pp., £14, March 2000, 9780712664226
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... tiny fragments of glass are assembled to form a picture – not always in the best possible taste. Mark Girouard’s biography of James Stirling is constructed by a similar procedure, an astonishing accumulation of small details, asides and memories building up to a portrait. Big Jim is vividly told and convincingly three-dimensional. And it isn’t ...

Think Tiny

Mark Ford: Nancification, 17 July 2008

The Nancy Book 
by Joe Brainard.
Siglio, 144 pp., $39.50, April 2008, 978 0 9799562 0 1
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... a series of assemblages that made loving use of cigarette butts, lobster claws, a rubber fried egg, Madonnas, an American Indian’s head, 7-Up bottle caps, ostrich feathers, a moose statuette, pink rubber snakes, crucifixes, purple plastic grapes. Almost a year spent in such poverty that he took up panhandling seems to have enabled Brainard to see ...

Hagiophagy

Elaine Showalter, 2 October 1997

Impossible Saints 
by Michèle Roberts.
Little, Brown, 308 pp., £14.99, May 1997, 0 316 63957 5
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... rich lunches of olives, rabbit pâté and figs; leisurely dinners of saucisses de Toulouse, fried aubergines, peaches and red wine. She luxuriates in the rituals and décor of the boudoir – a nightgown of ‘eau-de-nil silk with pencil shoulder straps’, coral toe-nail polish, laceedged linen pillows, vases of mauve sweetpeas. For three days she ...

Amazing Sushi

Jessica Olin: Nani Power, 23 August 2001

Crawling at Night 
by Nani Power.
Heinemann, 234 pp., £9.99, July 2001, 0 434 00856 7
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... ritual lies calm.’ But while Ito’s tasks are creative, Mariane’s compulsions merely mark time, providing a sense of security while she replenishes the alcohol in her bloodstream. Her day is parcelled into the half-hour segments of talk shows: Geraldo at nine, Jenny Jones at three. But at the end of the shift Mariane’s nightly binge begins ...

Cheesespreadology

Ian Sansom, 7 March 1996

Garbage 
by A.R. Ammons.
Norton, 121 pp., £7.50, February 1995, 0 393 31203 8
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Tape for the Turn of the Year 
by A.R. Ammons.
Norton, 205 pp., £8.95, February 1995, 0 393 31204 6
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Red Sauce, Whiskey and Snow 
by August Kleinzahler.
Faber, 93 pp., £6.99, April 1995, 0 571 17431 0
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The Unemployed Fortune-Teller: Essays and Memoirs 
by Charles Simic.
Michigan, 127 pp., £30, January 1996, 0 472 06569 6
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Frightening Toys 
by Charles Simic.
Faber, 101 pp., £6.99, April 1995, 0 571 17399 3
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The Ghost of Eden 
by Chase Twichell.
Faber, 78 pp., £6.99, April 1995, 0 571 17434 5
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... Sixties Simic was associated with, and became identified with, neo-Surrealists like James Tate, Mark Strand and Russell Edson, producing poems of boozy chance operation. During the Seventies he became renowned for his rather more sober so-called ‘object’ poems, such as the famous ‘Fork’, from his 1971 collection Dismantling the Silence (‘This ...

Not No Longer but Not Yet

Jenny Turner: Mark Fisher’s Ghosts, 9 May 2019

k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher 
edited by Darren Ambrose.
Repeater, 817 pp., £25, November 2018, 978 1 912248 28 5
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... Mark Fisher​ killed himself on 13 January 2017, at the house in Felixstowe he shared with his wife and young son. His mental health had been deteriorating, according to the Ipswich Star’s report of the inquest, since the previous May. His wife, Zoe, told the inquest that they had been seeking help for him, but the local NHS trust hadn’t been able to offer anything beyond a telephone chat with a GP ...

Good Girls and Bad Girls

Anita Brookner, 2 June 1983

Porky 
by Deborah Moggach.
Cape, 236 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 224 02948 7
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The Banquet 
by Carolyn Slaughter.
Allen Lane, 191 pp., £6.95, May 1983, 0 7139 1574 9
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Binstead’s Safari 
by Rachel Ingalls.
Faber, 221 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 9780571130160
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In Good Faith 
by Edith Reveley.
Hodder, 267 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 340 32012 5
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Cousins 
by Monica Furlong.
Weidenfeld, 172 pp., £7.95, April 1983, 0 297 78231 2
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The Moons of Jupiter 
by Alice Munro.
Allen Lane, 233 pp., £7.95, April 1983, 0 7139 1549 8
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On the Stroll 
by Alix Kates Shulman.
Virago, 301 pp., £8.95, May 1983, 0 86068 364 8
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The Color Purple 
by Alice Walker.
Women’s Press, 244 pp., £3.95, March 1983, 0 7043 3905 6
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Mistral’s Daughter 
by Judith Krantz.
Sidgwick, 531 pp., £8.95, May 1983, 0 283 98987 4
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... flyblown chaos in and around the bungalow which is the home provided by her parent. All food is fried, the television is on full blast, the air is thick with cigarette smoke; in the yard, shed or field where Porky tries to play, stands the evidence of various abandoned enterprises, the pigs, a few hens, a van, the odd parked car or two. Overhead the ...

At the Hayward

Marina Warner: Tracey Emin, 25 August 2011

... International failed and her father left, the family lived in a council flat above a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet. The story is gripping and appalling, and there is much more in the same vein. But she is indomitable, she is fortune’s child, carried to fame by her gifts, her jolie-laide charm, her naive expressiveness and emotional sincerity, her ...

Plenty of Puff

Charles West: Charlemagne, 19 December 2019

King and Emperor: A New Life of Charlemagne 
by Janet Nelson.
Allen Lane, 704 pp., £30, July 2019, 978 0 7139 9243 4
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... of Charlemagne in many languages since then, not least the wave that arrived around 2014 to mark the duodecentenary of his death, but few have been as ambitiously biographical as Nelson’s. Historians of early medieval Europe are trained to interpret scattered clues and fragments, however, and Nelson is one of the very best; she can also draw on her ...

Goldfish are my homies

John Lahr, 22 October 2020

Casting Shadows: Fish and Fishing in Britain 
by Tom Fort.
William Collins, 368 pp., £20, April, 978 0 00 828344 5
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... calm of the glassy lake’s surface and the turmoil underneath. Those bass which tasted so good fried in lard and matzo meal over an open fire also ate their babies. Those pike, who body-slammed our lures at such terrifying speed – 0 to 60 in a couple of seconds – were aquatic assassins; more than one of our guides had lost fingers to the razor-sharp ...

The School of English

Hilary Mantel: ‘The School of English’: A Story, 7 May 2015

... and helpful attitude, non-smoker. At a good distance north of here, there was a room over a fried chicken shop, where certain of her countrywomen gathered and passed the Lady hand to hand, as if they had never reached the age of the internet: they were not digital, they could not recharge, they were unable to keep a laptop in case it was filched from ...

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