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Love Letters

Mona Simpson, 1 September 1988

Love in the Time of Cholera 
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Edith Grossman.
Cape, 352 pp., £11.95, June 1988, 0 224 02570 8
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... It is hard now to recover the thrill of underground discovery, the hand-to-hand ardour, the feeling of claim engendered by A Hundred Years of Solitude. But Love in the Time of Cholera, like Autumn of the Patriarch before it, gives us something altogether new. With gorgeous, lucent writing, full of brilliant stops and starts, majestic whirls, thrilling endings, splendour and humour, the magician of our century takes on psychological realism ...

Beautiful People

Jonathan Coe, 23 July 1992

Brightness Falls 
by Jay McInerney.
Bloomsbury, 416 pp., £15.99, May 1992, 0 7475 1152 7
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The Lost Father 
by Mona Simpson.
Faber, 506 pp., £14.99, May 1992, 0 571 16149 9
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Out with the Stars 
by James Purdy.
Peter Owen, 192 pp., £14.99, June 1992, 0 7206 0861 9
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... literary weightiness, but this creates formal problems for both writers. Although by the end of Mona Simpson’s novel we are in no doubt as to the seriousness of her themes or her genuine gift for plot, a huge amount of the surface texture of her book is taken up with the kind of homespun detail and domestic minutiae which we associate with the ...

Waving the Past Goodbye

Lorna Sage, 3 April 1997

A Regular Guy 
by Mona Simpson.
Faber, 372 pp., £15.99, February 1997, 0 571 19079 0
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The Keepsake 
by Kirsty Gunn.
Granta, 224 pp., £14.99, March 1997, 9781862070134
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... Mona Simpson’s novels are long and loose, and make compulsive reading. She not only writes about obsession, but she passes on the effect with extraordinary directness, almost as though there’s no separate authorial presence in her books at all – art concealing art with a vengeance. A Regular Guy is her third novel, and in it she celebrates her first ten years in the business by surrendering her addiction to ‘I’, and edging just a little further over into fictionality with the invention of self-made hero Tom Owens, the multi-millionaire founder of a West Coast biotech company he christens ‘Genesis’: ‘He thought of himself as a guy in jeans, barefoot in the boardroom ...

Believe it or not

Rebecca Mead: America’s National Story Project, 7 February 2002

True Tales of American Life 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 416 pp., £16.99, November 2001, 0 571 21050 3
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... been left on and that you don’t want to watch’. Hayden’s story reads like the beginning of a Mona Simpson novel: ‘A week after my mother’s body was cremated, my father borrowed an Ecoline van from someone and piled us into it,’ she writes. ‘We sat in cheap beach chairs in the back drinking beer, which spilled off when he took the corners too ...

Adele goes West

Mark Lambert, 17 September 1987

Anywhere but here 
by Mona Simpson.
Bloomsbury, 406 pp., £11.95, June 1987, 0 7475 0017 7
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Herself in Love 
by Marianne Wiggins.
Collins, 184 pp., £9.95, May 1987, 0 00 223147 6
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Journey of the Wolf 
by Douglas Day.
Bodley Head, 235 pp., £10.95, April 1987, 0 370 31064 0
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Spanking the maid 
by Robert Coover.
Heinemann, 102 pp., £8.95, February 1987, 0 434 14289 1
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A Night at the Movies, or, You must remember this 
by Robert Coover.
Heinemann, 187 pp., £12.95, August 1987, 0 434 14390 1
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... Mona Simpson’s Anywhere but here might seem in one respect a common sort of first novel: it is a book about an intelligent child growing up with a troublesome parent. In fact, though, it is evident almost from the beginning that this is a book which does not aim merely to tell a personal story well. One senses the ambitiousness of this book, a wish to matter, to take an interesting part in the ongoing conversation of American Literature, and this is exhilarating ...

Looking back at the rubble

David Simpson: War and the Built Environment, 25 May 2006

The Destruction of Memory: Architecture at War 
by Robert Bevan.
Reaktion, 240 pp., £19.95, January 2006, 1 86189 205 5
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... is power and who has it over whom. At the time of its construction, the Eiffel Tower, according to Mona Ozouf, was taken by some as a symbol of the Revolution, by others as an insult to God, by others still as plain ugly. With the passage of time it became an important resource against invading armies (when used as a radio and signalling station) and finally ...

The Last Hundred Days

Peter Wollen: Kassel’s Mega-Exhibition, 3 October 2002

Documenta 11 
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... Golub, Alfredo Jaar, On Kawara, Glenn Ligon, Shirin Neshat, Gabriel Orozco, Adrian Piper and Lorna Simpson, all of whom are widely recognised and esteemed. A smaller number are based on the West Coast, including Allan Sekula and Raymond Pettibon in California, together with Stan Douglas, Ken Lum and Jeff Wall, all born and based in Vancouver. London fared ...

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