Close
Close

Search Results

Advanced Search

1 to 15 of 38 results

Sort by:

Filter by:

Contributors

Article Types

Authors

Subjects

Sunlight

Philip Horne, 28 September 1989

The Pale Companion 
by Andrew Motion.
Viking, 164 pp., £11.95, September 1989, 0 670 82287 6
Show More
Show More
... In 1982, at the age of 30, Andrew Motion, together with Blake Morrison, claimed attention in the Introduction to the Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry for the idea that ‘British poetry is once again undergoing a transition’: the new poets, many of them ‘Martians’, showed ‘a preference for metaphor and poetic bizarrerie to metonymy and plain speech’, and ‘a renewed interest in narrative ...

Diary

Philip Horne: Common Assault, 2 March 1989

... In October 1922 a young man called Freddy Bywaters lurked in the dark front garden of a corner house in Ilford. When his mistress and her husband came along, he emerged from the garden and, with or without premeditation, stabbed Percy Thompson 16 times. Thompson died, and so, after being sent for trial at the Old Bailey, did Bywaters and Mrs Thompson, at the end of a rope ...

It’s just a book

Philip Horne, 17 December 1992

Leviathan 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 245 pp., £14.99, October 1992, 0 571 16786 1
Show More
Show More
... Paul Auster is an amphibious writer whose eclectic methods and influences make one unsure by which end to try and grasp him. His early self-exile to an apprenticeship in Paris as a poet and translator, absorbing the lessons of the ‘high’ aesthetic rigorists – Beckett, Blanchot, Jabès, Celan – was an unexpected preliminary to his return to America and, after several years, his dark, formally self-conscious entry onto the scene of the American novel with The New York Trilogy, an elaborate anti-detective volume full of Hawthorne, Melville and Thoreau ...

Henry Hill and Laura Palmer

Philip Horne, 20 December 1990

... One of the strongest and strangest moments in David Lynch’s unsettling TV serial Twin Peaks, part of the dream of wholesome investigating agent Dale Cooper, comes when he is kissed full on the mouth by the figure of Laura Palmer, who was a ‘wild girl’ but is now dead and whose murderer he has come to town to detect. The story exerts its spell over television viewers through a combination of gruesome invention, deadpan quirkiness and hyperbolic intensity characteristic of Lynch (in Eraserhead, for instance, and this year’s Wild at Heart): but also through the tracing of sinister secret networks within the placid small-town community, the revelation not just of illicit sex but of drug-dealing and ritual murder underlying the ordinary goodness of pie and coffee ...

In the dark

Philip Horne, 1 December 1983

The Life of Alfred Hitchcock: The Dark Side of Genius 
by Donald Spoto.
Collins, 594 pp., £12.95, May 1983, 0 00 216352 7
Show More
Howard Hawks, Storyteller 
by Gerald Mast.
Oxford, 406 pp., £16.50, June 1983, 0 19 503091 5
Show More
Show More
... Television recently showed a likable young man from Florida who had committed an atrocious murder giving evidence in court against his ‘accomplice’, whose trial had been thrown open to the cameras. The photographs of the victim’s wounds were sickening, but the softly-spoken young man went back over the sequence of incompetent brutalities which produced them with unbroken equanimity ...

A World of Waste

Philip Horne, 1 September 1983

The Proprietor 
by Ann Schlee.
Macmillan, 300 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 333 35111 8
Show More
Slouching towards Kalamazoo 
by Peter De Vries.
Gollancz, 241 pp., £7.95, August 1983, 0 575 03306 1
Show More
Marcovaldo 
by Italo Calvino, translated by William Weaver.
Secker, 121 pp., £7.95, August 1983, 0 436 08272 1
Show More
The Loser 
by George Konard, translated by Ivan Sanders.
Allen Lane, 315 pp., £8.95, August 1983, 0 7139 1599 4
Show More
Show More
... Perhaps because of its concentration on people’s circumstances and constraints, the novel is often concerned with freedoms under threat and forms of liberation. The generality ‘freedom’ is much bandied about in the world at large, of course, mostly with a bland or fierce prejudice in its favour: misapplied, it can lead to terrible blunders. An aspect of the value of the novel is therefore its power to examine the conditions of freedom in particular cases, to refresh our sense of what this tortured word can mean ...

The Real Life of Melodrama

Philip Horne, 16 June 1983

Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter 
by Mario Vargas Llosa, translated by Helen Lane.
Faber, 374 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 571 13021 6
Show More
Show More
... In his book on Flaubert and Madame Bovary, called The Perpetual Orgy (1975) – the title is a phrase of Flaubert’s for the life of writing – Mario Vargas Llosa says what he likes in novels: ‘the greatest satisfaction a novel can give me is by stimulating, as I read, my admiration for some act of rebellion; my anger at some stupidity or injustice; my fascination with those histrionically distorted situations of excessive emotionalism that ...

Adulterers’ Distress

Philip Horne, 21 July 1983

A Nail on the Head 
by Clare Boylan.
Hamish Hamilton, 135 pp., £7.95, July 1983, 0 241 11001 7
Show More
New Stories 8: An Arts Council Anthology 
edited by Karl Miller.
Hutchinson, 227 pp., £8.95, May 1983, 9780091523800
Show More
The Handyman 
by Penelope Mortimer.
Allen Lane, 199 pp., £6.95, May 1983, 0 7139 1364 9
Show More
Open the Door 
by Rosemary Manning.
Cape, 180 pp., £7.95, June 1983, 0 224 02112 5
Show More
A Boy’s Own Story 
by Edmund White.
Picador, 218 pp., £2.50, July 1983, 0 330 28151 8
Show More
Show More
... The order in which we read the short stories in a collection makes a difference. Our hopping and skipping out of sequence can often disturb the lines or blunt the point of a special arrangement, lose us the pleasure of seeing large intentions emerge. Jumping to the end of Joyce’s Dubliners to get at ‘The Dead’, for a familiar instance, would considerably obscure the generous force in that story’s sympathetic pressing of its attention beyond and away from the social medium of public occasions on which its first half, like the three preceding stories, works – and into a tenderer, more private world ...

Maids

Philip Horne, 1 April 1983

The Slow Train to Milan 
by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
Cape, 254 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 224 02077 3
Show More
Holy Pictures 
by Clare Boylan.
Hamish Hamilton, 201 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 241 10926 4
Show More
Pilgermann 
by Russell Hoban.
Cape, 240 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 224 02072 2
Show More
September Castle: A Tale of Love 
by Simon Raven.
Blond and Briggs, 261 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 85634 123 1
Show More
The Watcher 
by Charles Maclean.
Allen Lane, 343 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 7139 1559 5
Show More
The Little Drummer Girl 
by John le Carré.
Hodder, 433 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 340 32847 9
Show More
Show More
... Lisa St Aubin de Teran’s The Slow Train to Milan and Clare Boylan’s Holy Pictures share a subject – girls growing up to a world whose language is new to them – which demands close attention to the register of words and sentences, a measure of novelty and an enactment of surprise. Many of their sentences glint with recognitions, giving back a fine pleasure out of the often painful misunderstandings and reverses they render ...

Those Heads on the Stakes

Philip Horne, 23 May 1985

The War of the End of the World 
by Mario Vargas Llosa and Helen Lane.
Faber, 568 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 9780571131143
Show More
Show More
... 1900 was the end of the 19th century but it wasn’t the end of the world, as we can see. Antonio Conselheiro, a religious leader in the Sertao, the harsh backlands of north-eastern Brazil, had predicted that it would be: ‘There shall be a great rain of stars, and that will be the end of the world. In 1900 the lights shall be put out.’ He was not there to see this prophecy belied; his own light had gone out on 22 September 1897, towards the end of a strange, grim piece of history ...

Making sentences

Philip Horne, 21 November 1991

The Jameses: A Family Narrative 
by R.W.B. Lewis.
Deutsch, 696 pp., £20, October 1991, 0 233 98748 7
Show More
Meaning in Henry James 
by Millicent Bell.
Harvard, 384 pp., £35.95, October 1991, 9780674557628
Show More
Show More
... Forty-one years after F.O. Matthiessen’s suicide, and 44 after his big book The James Family: A Group Biography, here is R.W.B. Lewis, Matthiessen’s pupil at Harvard, with one on the same subject, nearly as big. Its very title twists a touch awkwardly to avoid repeating that of its precursor, to which Lewis acknowledges a large debt. But The Jameses comes out into a different intellectual and cultural world from that which acclaimed The James Family ...

Making faces

Philip Horne, 9 May 1991

The Grimace 
by Nicholas Salaman.
Grafton, 256 pp., £13.99, February 1991, 0 246 13770 3
Show More
Playing the game 
by Ian Buruma.
Cape, 234 pp., £13.99, April 1991, 0 224 02758 1
Show More
The Music of Chance 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 217 pp., £13.99, March 1991, 9780571161577
Show More
Show More
... What do coincidences mean? As I was reading Nicholas Salaman’s elaborately-patterned historical paranoia novel The Grimace, in which all the women the cracked narrator encounters are called Johanna, I came across the phrase ‘visions of Johannas’. It gave me a shock to realise that the song ‘Visions of Johanna’, by Bob Dylan, at which Salaman nods just this once, was at the same moment playing quietly on my stereo, which it does perhaps once a year ...

Nothing’s easy

Philip Horne, 26 November 1987

The Perpetual Orgy 
by Mario Vargas Llosa, translated by Helen Lane.
Faber, 240 pp., £9.95, July 1987, 0 571 14550 7
Show More
Captain Pantoja and the Special Service 
by Mario Vargas Llosa, translated by Gregory Kolovakos and Ronald Christ.
Faber, 244 pp., £3.95, June 1987, 0 571 14818 2
Show More
Show More
... Writing this book I am like a man playing the piano with lead balls attached to his knuckles.’ The weighty agonies and agonisings of Flaubert, most famously over the details of Madame Bovary, have made him an exemplary writer for other self-conscious writers, and this unlikely simile is quoted in a recent work testifying to that detailed interest: Julian Barnes in Flaubert’s Parrot (1984) made a clever novel out of a preoccupation with the minutiae of Flaubert’s life, inventing a biographer-narrator to fight a long rearguard action against the death of the author ...

Dark Strangers, Gorgeous Slums

Philip Horne, 16 March 1989

Off the Rails: Memoirs of a Train Addict 
by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
Bloomsbury, 193 pp., £12.95, January 1989, 0 7475 0011 8
Show More
The Marble Mountain, and Other Stories 
by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
Cape, 126 pp., £10.95, January 1989, 9780224025973
Show More
The Bathroom 
by Jean-Philippe Toussaint, translated by Barbara Bray.
Boyars, 125 pp., £11.95, February 1989, 0 7145 2880 3
Show More
Motherland 
by Timothy O’Grady.
Chatto, 230 pp., £11.95, February 1989, 0 7011 3341 4
Show More
A Lesser Dependency 
by Peter Benson.
Macmillan, 146 pp., £11.95, February 1989, 0 333 49093 2
Show More
Show More
... Travel is sometimes supposed to broaden the mind, impending death to concentrate it. Travel is more desirable than impending death, but it is usually harder to arbitrate between the claims of mental breadth and concentration. Reading Off the Rails by Lisa St Aubin de Teran, however, a memoir in which she brings us up to date with her 35-year ‘lifetime of truancy and escape’, a career of spontaneously marrying, travelling and writing, will make many readers feel that the loss of some sorts of breadth is not to be deeply regretted ...

Ranklings

Philip Horne, 30 August 1990

Henry James and Edith Wharton: Letters 1900-1915 
edited by Lyall Powers.
Weidenfeld, 412 pp., £25, May 1990, 9780297810605
Show More
Show More
... Edith Wharton is known, among other things, as the teller of the most devastating of the anecdotes displaying Henry James’s incapacity to communicate efficiently. The story told in her 1933 autobiography, A Backward Glance, has James, late one evening, attempt to ask a doddering Windsor pedestrian how their car can find its way to the address they want ...

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Read More

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences