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Eat grass

Jenny Turner: The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank, 15 July 1999

The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing 
by Melissa Bank.
Viking, 274 pp., £9.99, July 1999, 9780670883004
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... in 1995. My excuse was that ‘The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing’, the title story in Melissa Bank’s short-story collection, has a Rules epigraph, and contains several Rules discussions, and is to some extent a Rules critique. On my way, I noticed that self-help books are kept next to philosophy, and when you see them close together, you ...

Angry Duck

Jenny Turner: Lorrie Moore, 5 June 2008

The Collected Stories 
by Lorrie Moore.
Faber, 656 pp., £20, May 2008, 978 0 571 23934 4
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... in which young middle-class women seek love and fortune in the big, big city – the dreamworld of Melissa Bank (a Moore follower if ever there was one) and Sex and the City and Bridget Jones. Except that Self-Help also now reads like a self-consciously historical document, a John Dos Passos-like collage. As well as simply telling stories about young ...

I couldn’t live normally

Christian Lorentzen: What Sally did next, 23 September 2021

Beautiful World, Where Are You 
by Sally Rooney.
Faber, 352 pp., £16.99, September, 978 0 571 36542 5
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... of Conversations with Friends, the performance poets Frances and Bobbi charm an older writer, Melissa, who promises to write a profile of them. Still undergraduates, they have already boarded the train of lit-biz publicity. Melissa introduces Frances to Valerie, a woman with money and publishing connections, who ...


Adam Mars-Jones: Paul Theroux, 25 January 2018

Mother Land 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 509 pp., £20, November 2017, 978 0 241 14498 5
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... rapidly teases out its significance. Jay has decided the time is right to offer his new partner, Melissa (known as Missy), a ‘commitment ring’, something short of an engagement ring but nevertheless the pledge of a shared future. In a matter of moments Mother has moved from oblique manipulation with a hint of self-pity – ‘Would I ever be allowed to ...

Op Art

Joshua Cohen: Joshua Sobol, 3 March 2011

Cut Throat Dog 
by Joshua Sobol, translated by Dalya Bilu.
Melville House, 270 pp., £10.99, November 2010, 978 1 935554 21 9
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... who abandoned the stage for a while after The Jerusalem Syndrome, has spoken out against the West Bank settlements, refusing to have his plays put on there (though that’s merely a gesture, since the ultra-religious would have no interest in performing them anyway). After describing the settlements as a ‘cancer’ last year, he was stripped of his teaching ...

Family History

Miles Taylor: Tony Benn, 25 September 2003

Free at Last: Diaries 1991-2001 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 738 pp., £25, October 2002, 0 09 179352 1
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Free Radical: New Century Essays 
by Tony Benn.
Continuum, 246 pp., £9.95, May 2003, 9780826465962
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... but there is nobody to do that now.’ Nor is there much comfort in venerability. His daughter, Melissa, offers the maxim ‘if an old man sits quietly by the river bank for long enough, the bodies of all his enemies will float by.’ But in Benn’s case, the sons of his friends and former colleagues are swimming with ...

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