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... Except that she’d been woken up, and her night’s sleep ruined worrying about it. She wished Martin hadn’t taken his Encyclopaedia Britannica with him when they split up. She missed that more than she missed him. Tomorrow, she promised herself, she would go to the library at school and check it out. Now, could she please go to sleep? The trouble is ...


R.W. Johnson: Magdalen College, 19 November 2009

... pay.) The college’s ‘long 18th century’ was made even longer by the 63-year presidency of Martin Routh, who signalled his attachment to the past by wearing an 18th-century wig and knee-breeches until his death in 1854. He insisted on taking a coach and horses to London and when told by undergraduates that the train was far quicker, angrily retorted ...


Melissa Denes: ‘The Slap’, 19 August 2010

The Slap 
by Christos Tsiolkas.
Tuskar Rock, 485 pp., £12.99, May 2010, 978 1 84887 355 1
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... jumble of children, family, friends, colleagues who aren’t mixing. There is chaos in the kitchen, the guests are drinking too fast, and the host, Hector, has taken two lines of speed. The day is glorious, ‘a lush late summer afternoon, with a clear blue sky’, the conditions near perfect for catastrophe. One of the children, an ...

Emotional Sushi

Ian Sansom: Tony, Nick and Simon, 9 August 2001

One for My Baby 
by Tony Parsons.
HarperCollins, 330 pp., £15.99, July 2001, 0 00 226182 0
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How to Be Good 
by Nick Hornby.
Viking, 256 pp., £16.99, May 2001, 0 670 88823 0
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Little Green Man 
by Simon Armitage.
Viking, 246 pp., £12.99, August 2001, 0 670 89442 7
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... about Essex girls and vibrators. There is also a joke about Essex girls washing their hair in the kitchen sink. And a joke about Essex girls and mosquitoes. On page 182 of the paperback of Man and Boy there is a tasteless joke about Irish girls and vibrators. And Irish girls washing their hair in the kitchen sink. And Irish ...

The Ugly Revolution

Michael Rogin: Martin Luther King Jr, 10 May 2001

I May Not Get there with You: The True Martin Luther King Jr 
by Michael Eric Dyson.
Free Press, 404 pp., £15.99, May 2000, 0 684 86776 1
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The Papers of Martin Luther King Jr. Vol. IV: Symbol of the Movement January 1957-December 1958 
edited by Clayborne Carson et al.
California, 637 pp., £31.50, May 2000, 0 520 22231 8
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... centuries of legally enshrined, lethally enforced white supremacy to an end. Its national hero is Martin Luther King Jr. Far from giving way in the face of moral example and legal right, racial injustice rose to fever pitch during the 1960s. The third and deadliest Ku Klux Klan (succeeding the Southern Klan of the late 1860s and the national Klan of the ...
... he was the ANC organiser in Durban. Yengwa just used to walk in without knocking, go into the kitchen, make my father tea and they’d sit down and chat for hours. Yengwa died in exile far away, in London.’ Edgar spoke without bitterness. Mrs Luthuli sat next to him and at times seemed lost in her own thoughts. Despite her age she had travelled to ...

In the Company of Confreres

Terry Eagleton: ‘Modern British Fiction’, 12 December 2002

On Modern British Fiction 
edited by Zachary Leader.
Oxford, 328 pp., £14.99, October 2002, 0 19 924932 6
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... the backpacking generation’. Not all ladies have become women. In a chapter here on P.D. James, Martin Priestman records her distrust of ambitious professional women, approval of loyal housekeepers and disdain for people who say ‘toilet’ when they mean ‘lavatory’. At one point she feels the need to remind herself that not everyone wants to live ...

Doris and Me

Jenny Diski, 8 January 2015

... years the name changed, ‘Poor Roger’ (my first husband), ‘Poor Peter’ (her son), ‘Poor Martin’ (or any other man who she thought had been treated badly by a woman). But as far as I was concerned the death of Sylvia was before my time, if only by weeks, in the same way that the end of the Second World War was before my time at my birth in ...

Bujak and the Strong Force

Martin Amis, 6 June 1985

... heads. I crossed the street and rang the bell. And again. And for what? I tried the back door, the kitchen porch. Then Michiko called me. Together we stared through the living-room window. Bujak sat at the table, hunched forward as if he needed all the power of his back and shoulders just to hold position, just to keep his rest energy seized, skewered. Several ...

Muted Ragu Tones

Michael Hofmann: David Szalay, 21 April 2016

All That Man Is 
by David Szalay.
Cape, 437 pp., £14.99, April 2016, 978 0 224 09976 9
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... of’, ‘Number still work?’ An encounter might go: ‘Been watching the snooker, Martin?’ ‘Not really.’ ‘No? Fair enough.’ Or: ‘Alright, Mossy,’ Simon says. ‘How are you? Alright?’ Mossy says something. ‘Yeah alright,’ Simon says. The whole of Spring can be summarised as James’s effort to find out whether he ...

The Luck of the Tories

Ross McKibbin: The Debt to Kinnock, 7 March 2002

Kinnock: The Biography 
by Martin Westlake.
Little, Brown, 768 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 316 84871 9
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... he is rather hard to place, both as political leader and in the history of the Labour Party. Martin Westlake’s biography does much to place him and certainly encourages the reader to reflect on the recent history of the Labour Party. It is not exactly an official biography, but it is sympathetic (though not uncritical) and was written with Kinnock’s ...

At Kettle’s Yard

Eleanor Birne: The Reopening, 22 March 2018

... boy he was than the ‘first-class bicycle’ he could have got for the money instead. The Edes’ kitchen was small and spartan; it’s now a tiny staff room. Jim and Helen barely used it: one of their visitors, Duncan Robinson, remembered their ‘austere, almost invalid evening meal’, sometimes followed by their two indulgences: ‘very dark bitter ...

The Ballad of Andy and Rebekah

Martin Hickman: The Phone Hackers, 17 July 2014

... the body was, and they came out and told the police: “We never smelled anything. We were in the kitchen or in the attic.”’ Laidlaw said that Brooks was a victim of a ‘witch-hunt’ and that Edis was the witch-finder general. After deliberating for eight days, the jury came back on 24 June, unable to reach verdicts on the ‘palace cops’ corruption ...


Thomas Sugrue: Civil Rights v. Black Power, 5 October 2006

Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice 
by Raymond Arsenault.
Oxford, 690 pp., £19.99, March 2006, 0 19 513674 8
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... that catered to whites refused to serve African Americans, or relegated them to tables in the kitchen or out-of-doors. Those theatres that admitted non-white patrons confined them to the balconies (deprecatingly called ‘buzzards’ roosts’) or along the walls. In most parts of the South, blacks were denied the basic prerogatives of ...

Squealing to Survive

John Lahr: Clancy was here, 19 July 2018

Black Sunset: Hollywood Sex, Lies, Glamour, Betrayal and Raging Egos 
by Clancy Sigal.
Icon, 352 pp., £12.99, May 2018, 978 1 78578 439 2
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The London Lover: My Weekend that Lasted Thirty Years 
by Clancy Sigal.
Bloomsbury, 274 pp., £20, May 2018, 978 1 4088 8580 2
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... the undertow of the Red Scare plays out with an unmistakable whiff of real menace. Describing Martin Gang, a lawyer famous for scrubbing the stain of disloyalty from Hollywood personalities, Clancy writes: He operates under a strategy that correctly perceives the Red Scare as driven by antisemitism by co-operating with congressional Jew-baiters who call ...

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