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Proudly Reptilian

Nicole Flattery: Kevin Barry, 12 September 2019

Night Boat to Tangier 
by Kevin Barry.
Canongate, 224 pp., £14.99, June 2019, 978 1 78211 617 2
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... It’s​ a stereotypical Irish scene. A beleaguered man is tending to a failing and unhappy farm. There’s trouble in the poultry shed. If this were a film, there would be close-ups of a sweat-ridden brow, a taut, unending blue sky, the rugged earth. What wrenches you out of this fantasy is the first line of dialogue, delivered matter-of-factly by the farmer, John, to his wife: ‘Mary? I’ll ask you again ...

Bury that bastard

Nicole Flattery, 5 March 2020

Actress 
by Anne Enright.
Cape, 264 pp., £16.99, February, 978 1 78733 206 5
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... Every​ so often a magazine will publish a graph that proves, beyond any measure of doubt, that Hollywood is sexist, with a particular bias against middle-aged women. I’m not sure for whom this information is intended. Somebody who has never seen a film but likes graphs? Somebody so insulated from the real world that they’ve never strolled past a multiplex and caught a glimpse of a poster in which an older man leans gamely against a young woman; a woman with a sunny disposition, a tan and the general demeanour of someone born into a country where it never rains ...

Excessive Weeping

Lauren Oyler: Nicole Flattery’s Stories, 10 October 2019

Show Them a Good Time 
by Nicole Flattery.
Bloomsbury, 238 pp., £14.99, March 2019, 978 1 5266 1190 1
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... In​ ‘Abortion, a Love Story’, the long story at the centre of Nicole Flattery’s first collection, a young woman, Natasha, tells the professor on whom she’s about to force a perfunctory affair that she has a disorder. ‘I can’t explain exactly what my disorder is,’ she says, ‘but it prevents me from absorbing any knowledge into my brain ...

Who does that for anyone?

Adam Shatz: Jean-Pierre Melville, 20 June 2019

Jean-Pierre Melville: Le Solitaire 
by Bertrand Teissier.
Fayard, 272 pp., €22, October 2017, 978 2 213 70573 6
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Jean-Pierre Melville, une vie 
by Antoine de Baecque.
Seuil, 244 pp., €32, October 2017, 978 2 02 137107 9
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... where the German officer had stayed. Jean-Marie Robain, who played the uncle, and Nicole Stéphane, who played the niece, had also been in the Resistance. For the role of von Ebrennac, Melville chose the Swiss-American actor Howard Vernon, who was known for playing villainous Nazi officers. ‘You were so good at playing a Nazi ...

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