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3 October 1985
Mr Palomar 
by Italo Calvino, translated by William Weaver.
Secker, 118 pp., £8.50, September 1985, 0 436 08275 6
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Parrot’s Perch 
by Michel Rio, translated by Leigh Hafrey.
Dent, 88 pp., £7.95, September 1985, 0 460 04669 1
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Light Years 
by Maggie Gee.
Faber, 350 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 571 13604 4
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... use to which others put words; but the meaning of this silent speech lies in its interruptions, in what is, from time to time, actually said, giving a meaning to what is unsaid.’ The protagonist of MichelRio’s Parrot’s Perch has been close to silence for about a year. He is a Latin American priest who was tortured for resisting his government, and has been given refuge in a French monastery. The ...

Read it on the autobahn

Robert Macfarlane: Vanishing Victorians

18 December 2003
The Discovery of Slowness 
by Sten Nadolny, translated by Ralph Freedman.
Canongate, 311 pp., £10.99, September 2003, 1 84195 403 9
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... to infer what has happened. Here, for instance, is Nadolny’s description of a confrontation with one of the mutinying guides in the final days of the first Arctic expedition: At this very moment Michel appeared in the tent entrance, his rifle at his hip, ready to fire. He was aiming at John. Hepburn drew his pistol fast. Michel turned the barrel of his rifle towards him. The picture of this scene ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Le Mépris’

21 January 2016
Le Mépris 
directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
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... than reality as well as more romantic. Here they almost all have to do with money and power, and a desperate inability to see anything straight. When Brigitte Bardot, as the sulky beautiful wife of Michel Piccoli, the writer who may or may not work on the film within the film, tells her husband she despises him, cueing us in to our title, we realise she has found the word she has been looking for ...
7 February 2019
... his administration, enjoying in exchange a swathe of satisfactory nominations, central and local, in the machinery of government. When the term came to an end, the PMDB speaker in the Lower Chamber, Michel Temer, was chosen by Lula to be vice president under Dilma, yoking a veteran of backroom carve-up and corridor intrigue to a political tyro. The economic bequests detonated first. By 2013, the middle ...

The Real Magic

David Sylvester

8 June 1995
A Biographical Dictionary of Film 
by David Thomson.
Deutsch, 834 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 233 98859 9
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... general. (It also exemplifies his charm with paradox that he puts Louise Brooks in both camps.) Again and again observations which epitomise the art of film come in as asides, as when, writing about Michel Simon, he invokes ‘the special mingling of self and character that is so necessary (and dangerous) in screen acting’. (This, by the way, is a rewrite. In the previous edition it read: ‘the ...

Crisis in Brazil

Perry Anderson

20 April 2016
... undercutting the ‘new economic matrix’ of Guido Mantega, the finance minister. Two months later, the country was swept by a wave of mass protests, triggered by higher bus fares in São Paulo and Rio but quickly escalating into generalised expressions of discontent with the quality of public services and, fanned by the media, of hostility to an incompetent state. Overnight, the government’s ...
24 November 1994
... fruit in the series of great French names who, before they were known in the world at large, came to the Faculty in São Paulo: Lévi-Strauss, Braudel, Pierre Monbeig, Roger Bastide, Claude Lefort, Michel Foucault. The deepest local imprint was left in philosophy, where a set of outstanding instructors trained a generation of thinkers, vividly memorialised in a recent work by Paulo Eduardo Arantes as ...

Lula’s Brazil

Perry Anderson

31 March 2011
... and on talking it over, not only agreed to finance it, but – an unusual arrangement for the millionaire proprietor of a journal – to work for it under Conti. He insisted only that it be edited in Rio, as a counter-weight to the excessive concentration of intellectual life in São Paulo once the capital had moved inland. The magazine that issued from this arrangement is a stylish affair, sometimes ...

After Suharto

Pankaj Mishra

9 October 2013
... family (he didn’t trust other Indonesian business families). Local companies were allowed to make deals with multinationals; ExxonMobil moved into Aceh to operate its gas fields; Freeport and Rio Tinto acquired mining rights in Papua. Military rule opened the floodgates for the corporate class, and small windows to the middle class. Many salary-earners and members of the urban petite ...

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