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A Faint Sound of Rust

Michael Wood, 21 October 1993

‘The Pit’ and ‘Tonight’ 
by Juan Carlos Onetti, translated by Peter Bush.
Quartet, 216 pp., £12.95, June 1991, 0 7043 2767 8
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The Shipyard 
by Juan Carlos Onetti, translated by Nick Caistor.
Serpent’s Tail, 186 pp., £8.99, February 1992, 1 85242 191 6
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‘Farewells’ and ‘A Grave with No Name’ 
by Juan Carlos Onetti, translated by Peter Bush.
Quartet, 136 pp., £12.95, March 1992, 0 7043 7015 8
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Body Snatcher 
by Juan Carlos Onetti, translated by Alfred MacAdam.
Quartet, 305 pp., £13.95, October 1991, 9780704327979
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A Brief Life 
by Juan Carlos Onetti, translated by Hortense Carpentier.
Serpent’s Tail, 292 pp., £9.99, February 1993, 1 85242 301 3
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Cuando ya no importe 
by Juan Carlos Onetti.
Alfaguara, 205 pp., £10.95, March 1993, 84 204 8107 6
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... Juan Carlos Onetti, 84 years old and now a Spanish citizen, living in Madrid, is one of the most distinguished and most neglected of Latin American writers. He was born in Montevideo, but takes the idea of being an important Uruguayan author as something short of a compliment, even as a kind of joke. He hasn’t sought his neglect, but he has cultivated the neglect he found, made it part of his story ...

Two Poems

Peter Redgrove, 3 February 1983

... torchbeams spreading, in a wide valley, Scented valley, the way of orris And of rosewater; and the bush Gives into the hand, it is bosomy; And the tree seems to rave, or think ardently, Flickering with the orange light Of the sea behind it, through the Innumerable eyelids, winking leaves, As he removes his tie and they drift Together in their while clothes ...

Blair Must Go

Peter Clarke: Why Tony Blair should go, 11 September 2003

... the captain. The football idiom here is not just a metaphor: it’s more serious than that. When Peter Stothard was allowed to follow Blair for the month that saw the Iraq war begin, he quickly had to learn the argot, as his revealing book recounts.* Campbell duly makes his dig against Jack Straw, who is the MP for Blackburn: ‘What do Saddam Hussein and ...

Sucking up

Michael Rogin, 12 May 1994

Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War 
by John MacArthur.
California, 274 pp., £10, January 1994, 0 520 08398 9
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Live from the Battlefield: From Vietnam to Baghdad – 35 Years in the World’s War Zones 
by Peter Arnett.
Bloomsbury, 463 pp., £17.99, March 1994, 0 7475 1680 4
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... reporter as American hero – Neil Sheehan, David Halberstam, Seymour Hersch, Jonathan Schell, Peter Arnett. They reported not only the war the government did not want its citizens to see, but also the government efforts to invent a war for domestic consumption. ‘Part of the Vietnamese Seventh Infantry Division was being assigned to make a ...

In Cambridge

Peter Campbell: The Cambridge Illuminations: Ten Centuries of Book Production in the Medieval West, 18 August 2005

... Macclesfield Psalter), or those that perch in marginal flourishes like birds in an ivy bush. The illuminations of the 12th-century Bury Bible or the mid-12th-century manuscript of Peter Lombard’s Magna glossatura on the Psalms are equally brilliantly coloured, but stranger, less sweet, more stylised and more ...

Dad & Jr

Christian Lorentzen: Bushes Jr & Sr, 4 December 2014

... I confess to a bit of nostalgia for the nihilism that came with being governed by George W. Bush. For all the continuities, Obama arouses more earnest responses: apologetics, disappointment, head-shaking, Occupy, Edward Snowden. Bush’s arrogance has turned out to be that of a man destined to spend his golden years ...

In the Garden

Peter Campbell: Rampant Weeds, 26 April 2007

... and flame were one of summer’s excitements. Now most of those hillsides have reverted to native bush. Gorse, like blackberry, was a plant of choice for those writers in the 1930s and 1940s who wanted home truths and had no truck with Georgian verses in which the fern and tui had been too easily substituted for the English hawthorn and thrush. Dan Davin, for ...

Sonic Foam

Ian Penman: On Kate Bush, 17 April 2014

... A dream,​ just before waking. It’s a day or two after Kate Bush’s unexpected announcement of her return to the concert stage for a series of shows later this year. In my dream, Bush takes the form of a child’s tiny hardback book: solid, substantial, not too many pages. On the front cover is a menagerie of cartoon animals, all Smartie-tube colours and toothy smiles ...

Virgin’s Tears

David Craig: On nature, 10 June 1999

Nature: Western Attitudes since Ancient Times 
by Peter Coates.
Polity, 246 pp., £45, September 1998, 0 7456 1655 0
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... backed off and charged again, while the nanny waited nearby, a seemingly dispassionate spectator. Peter Coates’s study of the evolving meanings of ‘nature’, in Europe and North America, is preoccupied with the human tendency to invade nature, altering, exploiting and ‘reinventing’ it. He culls a telling image from the Guardian for 9 August ...

Curriculum Vitae

Peter Robb, 2 May 1985

... Despite a new paralysis – my back –Am stirred, perhaps, to mine the new resource,Put down my worn suitcases and unpack.[Publications]Reader, should I turn another page?Fly off to somewhere, maybe even worse?Or limp serenely into middle ageAnd try to flog this flimsy book of verse? [c/o Fig Tree PocketQldAustraliaphotopies ofrelevantdocumentati ...

Spiderwise

Peter Porter, 4 September 1986

... tamed the whole wide land To seem Pelagian peninsula Where terrors have a user-friendly feel. The bush looks Art Nouveau, the wattles steal Their hazy shapes from Mucha; in the car The Esky waits the barbecue’s command. No doubt the mainframe’s large enough to cope With sharks and bushfires, droughts and mining rights. The people have been told they’re ...
... deaths of poets. My roach crackles in my hand. This is where they left his face Hanging in this bush; now the world Will look at us with his face always; this line Of hedge, this singing tree, this furrowed Rock, they join to make a landscape-face Out of the side of the mountain, improvised. They threw the pieces into the water, The river took them, the ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: The art of protest, 8 February 2007

... banners, slogans, posters, cards, photographs of deformed babies, cartoons of Blair, Brown and Bush, the parliamentary voting records of MPs, grubby teddy bears and toys (as well as the plastic sheets and cans that constituted Haw’s accommodation). They acted under Section 132 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act: a rather heavy legal vehicle ...

At Low Magnification

Peter Campbell: Optical Instruments, 9 September 2010

... In the low-magnification world, as the lens brings the leaf in your hand or the bird in the bush closer, the content of the visible world is multiplied. Looking at things closely leads to wondering what they are called. The sporadic self-education in natural history that goes with picking up pretty pebbles, shells and plants on country walks, and ...

The Long War

Andrew Bacevich: Motives behind the Surge, 26 March 2009

The Gamble: General Petraeus and the Untold Story of the American Surge in Iraq 
by Thomas E. Ricks.
Allen Lane, 394 pp., £25, February 2009, 978 1 84614 145 4
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... The Gamble covers the ‘surge’ that pulled Iraq back from the edge of the abyss. By 2006, with Bush still insisting that the war was going swimmingly and the Pentagon keen to hand the war over to the Iraqis, it seemed that the US was heading for a catastrophic defeat. If it proceeded with plans to pull out, many observers felt certain that Iraq would ...

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