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Fue el estado

Tony Wood: Elmer Mendoza

1 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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... that is specific to its time and place: cuerno de chivo, ‘goat’s horns’, means an AK-47; darle piso a alguien, literally ‘to give someone floor’, means to rub them out; encobijado, which MarkFried 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 ...

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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... makes fries for McDonald’s, the potatoes go from the field to the freezer – cleaned, sized, flayed 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 ...

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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... presiding right before it blew into a camp B-movie cavalcade of car wrecks, lithium and broken 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 ...

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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... a vast number of objects made by a meticulous technique of inlay known as micromosaic, in which 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 ...

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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... Gradually she gives in to breakfast in bed (croissants with apricot jam, Camembert, muscat grapes); 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 ...
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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... writes in the abstract, Simic is in several senses an abstract poet who writes in the concrete. In the 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 ...

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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... narrator spends his fortune re-enacting a series of ordinary events, eventually trying to re-enact 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 ...

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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... religious shops. His first one-man show in 1965 was a tour de force of street and junk-store scavenging, 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 ...

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 ...

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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... actions; drink in hand, she counts her steps to the bath and touches each of the tiles twice: ‘In 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 ...

At the Hayward

Marina Warner: Tracey Emin

25 August 2011
... impotent) boys and sleazy photographers. Her mother scavenged lead from abandoned houses, and after Hotel 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 ...

Plenty of Puff

Charles West: Charlemagne

9 December 2019
King and Emperor: A New Life of Charlemagne 
by Janet Nelson.
Allen Lane, 704 pp., £30, July, 978 0 7139 9243 4
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... deft cutting and pasting from classical Roman authors such as Suetonius. There have been countless studies 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 ...

The School of English

Hilary Mantel: ‘The School of English’: A Story

6 May 2015
... here was that roof: NW8, live-in, for flexible person must like dogs, with experience of specialist laundry 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 ...

If I Turn and Run

Iain Sinclair: In Hoxton

1 June 2000
45 
by Bill Drummond.
Little, Brown, 361 pp., £12.99, March 2000, 0 316 85385 2
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Crucify Me Again 
by Mark​ Manning.
Codex, 190 pp., £8.95, May 2000, 0 18 995814 6
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... to the building’. Despite all this furious mercantile and creative activity, the high-ceilinged hallway is deserted. In a splendid street-facing room there is an art manifestation, an exhibition by Mark Reeves, tagged Glamour, which consists of groups of monochrome prints, photographs of photographs. In the Zone there are essentially two types of pitch: small photographs (such as these) or very ...
17 November 1983
The Woman in Black 
by Susan Hill and John Lawrence.
Hamish Hamilton, 160 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 241 10987 6
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Legion 
by William Peter Blatty.
Collins, 252 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 00 222735 5
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The Lost Flying Boat 
by Alan Sillitoe.
Granada, 288 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 246 12236 6
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Snow, and Other Stories 
by Antony Lambton.
Quartet, 134 pp., £6.95, September 1983, 0 7043 2407 5
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New Islands, and Other Stories 
by Maria Luisa Bombal, translated by Richard Cunningham, Lucia Cunningham and Jorge Luis Borges.
Faber, 112 pp., £8.50, October 1983, 0 571 12052 0
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The Antarctica Cookbook 
by Crispin Kitto.
Duckworth, 190 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 7156 1762 1
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Sole Survivor 
by Maurice Gee.
Faber, 232 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 571 13017 8
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... of human emotions like hatred and revenge. The new horror story is bathed in Gnosticism, and takes Lucifer very seriously. In fact, the very title of Legion, which is borrowed from the Gospel of St Mark, presupposes a cosmological theory of considerable precision and sophistication. Rarely has the detective’s need to trace the link between a series of apparently unco-ordinated killings sought ...

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