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David Midgley: Martin Walser, 8 August 2002

Tod eines Kritikers 
by Martin Walser.
Suhrkamp, 219 pp., €19.90, June 2002, 3 518 41378 3
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... at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, declared in an open letter that he had refused to serialise Martin Walser’s novel Tod eines Kritikers, or ‘Death of a Critic’, on the grounds that it was a ‘document of hatred’, a fantasy ‘execution’ of the literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki. In Walser’s book a ...

Getting back

Adrian Poole, 1 July 1982

A crowd is not company 
by Robert Kee.
Cape, 240 pp., £7.50, May 1982, 9780224020039
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by Clive Sinclair.
Allison and Busby, 109 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 0 85031 454 2
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New Writing and Writers 19 
John Calder, 262 pp., £6.95, April 1982, 0 7145 3811 6Show More
Zhenia’s Childhood 
by Boris Pasternak, translated by Alec Brown.
Allison and Busby, 115 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 0 85031 466 6
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... Blessed You.’ The only extended piece other than Mulisch’s is a dreary novella by the German Martin Walser. ‘Antique Air’ is built on a wry conceit. Arnold, a chemical engineer, is struck with the idea that the air sealed in a rubber tyre or a ping-pong ball or a hollow decanter stopper is literally air that belongs to the past, arrested and ...

Outside in the Bar

Patrick McGuinness: Ten Years in Sheerness, 21 October 2021

The Sea View Has Me Again: Uwe Johnson in Sheerness 
by Patrick Wright.
Repeater, 751 pp., £20, June, 978 1 913462 58 1
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... with the events of the late 1960s: racism, riots, the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, Russian troop movements, the liberalisation of communism in Czechoslovakia. Where she comes from informs what she sees. After Bobby Kennedy’s murder, she makes a list of ‘Attempted and successful assassinations since the ...


Hal Foster: Dead to the World, 29 July 2021

Absentees: On Variously Missing Persons 
by Daniel Heller-Roazen.
Zone, 320 pp., £28, April, 978 1 942130 47 5
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... in the genre, whether it be the prototypical Odysseus, the 16th-century French peasant Martin Guerre, who has to displace an impostor, or Balzac’s Colonel Chabert, who is received so badly that he relinquishes all claims, including to his own name: ‘But now I am buried underneath the living, under papers, under acts, under the whole of ...

Still Superior

Mark Greif: Sex and Susan Sontag, 12 February 2009

Reborn: Early Diaries, 1947-64 
by Susan Sontag, edited by David Rieff.
Hamish Hamilton, 318 pp., £16.99, January 2009, 978 0 241 14431 2
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... as much as Les Misérables, which she had read before she was nine. She also read Jack London’s Martin Eden, a book about a self-taught writer which she later suspected had given her inspiration for her future life. A schoolteacher called Mr Starkie, recognising an unusual capacity in the girl, lent her The Sorrows of Young Werther. She started keeping a ...

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