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Doing Heads

Adam Phillips, 31 October 1996

by Patrick McGrath.
Viking, 250 pp., £16, August 1996, 0 670 87001 3
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... In their Introduction to the Picador Book of the New Gothic, Patrick McGrath and Bradford Morrow proposed a familiar kind of progress myth to help us find our way around the New Gothic; the old, or rather, original Gothic being by definition a genre in which the protagonists lost their way in horror or deranged bewilderment ...

Off Narragansett

Karl Miller, 28 September 1989

Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn 
by Paul Watkins.
Century Hutchinson, 269 pp., £12.95, August 1989, 0 09 173914 4
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Blood and Water 
by Patrick McGrath.
Penguin Originals, 183 pp., £4.99, February 1989, 0 14 011005 4
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The Grotesque 
by Patrick McGrath.
Viking, 186 pp., £11.95, October 1989, 0 670 82987 0
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... Paul Watkins’s novel and Patrick McGrath’s The Grotesque are second books by young British writers whose work has been well-received in America, to which, together with its surrounding seas, both of these writers have been drawn. Paul Watkins used, they say, to set off from Eton for spells on an oil rig, and after graduating from Yale he fished for three years off the New England coast, where this novel of his is located ...

Dear God

Theo Tait: Patrick McGrath’s Gothic, 19 August 2004

Port Mungo 
by Patrick McGrath.
Bloomsbury, 241 pp., £16.99, May 2004, 0 7475 7019 1
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... No one overwrites quite like Patrick McGrath. In a crowded field, he must be British fiction’s most prodigious overwriter. He made his name writing intense, florid novels about ‘wild delusions, ungovernable passions’, ‘insanity and obsessive sexual love’ (his words). But in Port Mungo he has written a book so lush, so fruity, so gorgeous – so in love with Romance and Passion – that his own back catalogue pales into understatement ...

Blooming Symbols

Adam Lively, 27 May 1993

Dr Haggard’s Disease 
by Patrick McGrath.
Viking, 180 pp., £14.99, May 1993, 0 670 85195 7
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by James Hamilton-Paterson.
Cape, 238 pp., £14.99, May 1993, 9780224037174
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... around World War Two, though Dr Haggard’s Disease has much more of a ‘period feel’. Indeed, McGrath’s motivation for setting the novel in WWII appears to have lain more in a feel for the texture of everyday (and particularly medical) life at that time than in a desire to say anything about the war. The book tells the story of Edward Haggard, a young ...

City of Dust

Julian Symons, 25 July 1991

A Den of Foxes 
by Stuart Hood.
Methuen, 217 pp., £13.99, July 1991, 9780413651105
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Dirty Tricks 
by Michael Dibdin.
Faber, 241 pp., £13.99, June 1991, 0 571 16216 9
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A Strange and Sublime Address 
by Amit Chaudhuri.
Heinemann, 209 pp., £13.99, June 1991, 9780434123483
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by Patrick McGrath.
Viking, 221 pp., £13.99, April 1991, 0 670 83684 2
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... and quite brilliant talent. And a talent effortlessly exercised, which is more than can be said of Patrick McGrath’s. His eponymous Spider, whose name is really Dennis, lives in Mrs Wilkinson’s boardinghouse, eats the awful food she prepares for the inmates, and keeps a journal in which he recalls his youth in this same area of London’s East End. In ...


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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... of me, even as I might have been.’ My favourite in this neo-Gothic genre is ‘The Smell’ by Patrick McGrath, whose first-person hero is haunted by a stench that is intimate but unlocatable (a Lacanian would call it ‘extimate’). The last lines read: ‘For I was indeed the source, I the smell, I the thing that dripped and stank … like a dirty ...

Each Scene for Itself

David Edgar: The Brecht Centenary, 4 March 1999

War Primer 
by Bertolt Brecht, edited by John Willett.
Libris, 170 pp., £35, February 1998, 1 870352 21 1
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Brecht in Context: Comparative Approaches 
by John Willett.
Methuen, 320 pp., £12.99, February 1998, 0 413 72310 0
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Brecht and Method 
by Fredric Jameson.
Verso, 184 pp., £19, November 1998, 1 85984 809 5
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... British postwar playwriting – from John Arden and Edward Bond in the Fifties and Sixties to John McGrath and Howard Brenton in the Seventies and Eighties – which has sought to renew and develop the Brecht project as a whole. But just as there is hardly a line of dialogue in the post-Caretaker British theatre that does not owe some thing to Pinter, so ...


Colin Wallace, 8 October 1992

The Red Hand: Protestant Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland 
by Steve Bruce.
Oxford, 326 pp., £25, August 1992, 0 19 215961 5
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... than a page to the paramilitary group Tara, best-known for the links between its founder, William McGrath, and the notorious Kincora child abuse scandal. Although Tara has not been held responsible for terrorist outrages, many of the people who later became key figures in both the UDA and the UVF began their paramilitary careers there. The organisation is of ...


Thomas Lynch, 21 March 1996

... of a phone when Nora was 80 cost her the excitement of letters coming up the road with John Willie McGrath, the postman, on his bike, and the installation of a television when she was 85 meant that her friends gave up their twisting narrations in favour of Dallas reruns, so the introduction of modern toiletry removed from Moveen for ever the liberty of walking ...

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