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12 September 1991
The Tax Inspector 
by Peter Carey.
Faber, 279 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 0 571 16297 5
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The Second Bridegroom 
by Rodney Hall.
Faber, 214 pp., £13.99, August 1991, 9780571164820
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... and Lucinda and Illywhacker to focus once again on the horrors of modern suburbia, traces the vicious circles of a family history in which successive generations are debilitated by a legacy of abuse. RodneyHall tells of a convict at large in New South Wales in 1838, caught up in larger, even more powerful cycles of captivity and exploitation, until he finds temporary sanctuary with an Aboriginal tribe ...

Whitlam Fictions

Zachary Leader

16 February 1989
Kisses of the Enemy 
by Rodney Hall.
Faber, 622 pp., £12.95, January 1989, 0 571 15091 8
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Postcards from Surfers 
by Helen Garner.
Bloomsbury, 180 pp., £11.95, January 1989, 0 7475 0272 2
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by Frank Moorhouse.
Faber, 175 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 0 571 15210 4
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... many of whom, especially those whose reputations derive initially from short fiction, have benefited from the Board’s largesse. The recent publication in Britain of works by three such figures – RodneyHall, Helen Garner and Frank Moorhouse – provides a convenient occasion for assessment. RodneyHall’s career neatly exemplifies current trends. Hall began his literary life as a poet. Since 1962 ...

Nuremberg Rally, Invasion of Poland, Dunkirk …

James Meek: The never-ending wish to write about the Second World War

6 September 2001
Ghost MacIndoe 
by Jonathan Buckley.
Fourth Estate, 469 pp., £12.99, April 2001, 1 84115 227 7
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The Twins 
by Tessa de Loo.
Arcadia, 392 pp., £6.99, May 2001, 1 900850 56 7
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by John Lawton.
Weidenfeld, 322 pp., £16.99, March 2001, 0 297 64345 2
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The Day We Had Hitler Home 
by Rodney Hall.
Granta, 361 pp., £15.99, April 2001, 1 86207 384 8
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Five Quarters of the Orange 
by Joanne Harris.
Doubleday, 431 pp., £12.99, April 2001, 0 385 60169 7
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The Fire Fighter 
by Francis Cottam.
Chatto, 240 pp., £15.99, March 2001, 0 7011 6981 8
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The Element of Water 
by Stevie Davies.
Women’s Press, 253 pp., £9.99, April 2001, 0 7043 4705 9
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The Bronze Horsewoman 
by Paullina Simons.
Flamingo, 637 pp., £6.99, April 2001, 0 00 651322 0
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The Siege 
by Helen Dunmore.
Penguin, 304 pp., £16.99, June 2001, 0 670 89718 3
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... a detective thriller, like John Lawton’s Riptide, set in London in 1941, featuring Sergeant Troy of the Yard. You can make it modern picaresque, a frenetic burst of lyrical futurist imagery, like RodneyHall’s The Day We Had Hitler Home, which is haunted by the presiding monster-to-be of the war to come: an injured German soldier, arriving in New South Wales in 1919, whose name is Adolf Hitler. Or ...

The Fire This Time

John Sutherland

28 May 1992
... Future historians looking back at the Rodney King insurrection in South Central Los Angeles will not see (or not just see) another in the line of racial explosions which go back through Watts, the Zoot Suit riots, to the ‘Yellow Peril ...


Joanna Biggs: Zadie Smith

1 December 2016
Swing Time 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 453 pp., £18.99, November 2016, 978 0 241 14415 2
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... story as in telling those of others, primarily that of her childhood friend Tracey, but also those of her mother and her boss. The narrator meets Tracey at dance lessons in a sweaty-floored church hall in Willesden in 1982. They are both seven. Tracey’s ballet shoes are made of impractical satin and are tied to the ankle with ribbons, and hers are of ‘pale pink, piggy leather’, fastened to ...


Stephen Smith: In LA

25 March 1993
... mystery gal pal’ takes him by the bespoke elbow and murmurs: ‘This place is kinda nice – English.’ George is holding a copy of that morning’s Los Angeles Times, which reports details of the Rodney King trial. Now for all I know, George is so devoted to South Central LA that he holds a weekly acting workshop in Lynwood, but if he’s anything like most of the Anglos in Los Angeles, he is ...


Inigo Thomas: Berry Bros

20 December 2018
... the list of questions I realised that of the three I had to answer one would have to be on a subject I knew next to nothing about. First things first: I got up from my desk and walked out of the exam hall to the lobby, where I lit a cigarette – it was 1985, and that sort of thing was possible. As I smoked, I settled on a question about the wine trade during the Hundred Years’ War. I knew about the ...

Liberation Music

Richard Gott: In Memory of Cornelius Cardew

12 March 2009
Cornelius Cardew: A Life Unfinished 
by John Tilbury.
Copula, 1069 pp., £45, October 2008, 978 0 9525492 3 9
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... interpreter of Bach and Schubert, his natural dissidence soon led him to the European avant-garde – Webern, Boulez and Stockhausen – to which his contemporaries Susan Bradshaw and Richard Rodney Bennett were also drawn. The mecca for music students in those days was Stockhausen’s headquarters at Darmstadt, where the ‘Darmstadt Headbangers’, as Tom Lubbock describes them, treated ...
23 January 1986
Now the war is over: A Social History of Britain 1945-51 
by Paul Addison.
BBC/Cape, 223 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 0 563 20407 9
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England First and Last 
by Anthony Bailey.
Faber, 212 pp., £12.50, October 1985, 0 571 13587 0
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A World Still to Win: The Reconstruction of the Post-War Working Class 
by Trevor Blackwell and Jeremy Seabrook.
Faber, 189 pp., £4.50, October 1985, 0 571 13701 6
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The Issue of War: States, Societies and the Far Eastern Conflict of 1941-1945 
by Christopher Thorne.
Hamish Hamilton, 364 pp., £15, April 1985, 0 241 10239 1
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The Hiroshima Maidens 
by Rodney​ Barker.
Viking, 240 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 670 80609 9
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Faces of Hiroshima: A Report 
by Anne Chisholm.
Cape, 182 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 224 02831 6
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End of Empire 
by Brain Lapping.
Granada, 560 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 246 11969 1
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by Simon Winchester.
Hodder, 317 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 340 33772 9
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... late Forties. The tone was suburban and even traditional. Bevan’s ideal council house, of which hundreds of thousands were built, had a bourgeois look. Coventry Cathedral and the Royal Festival Hall were modern architecture on a human scale. Though a high proportion of Londoners were being rehoused in flats, the LCC forbade the construction of blocks more than six storeys high. So there wasn ...

Joe, Jerry and Bomber Blair

Owen Hatherley: Jonathan Meades

7 March 2013
Museum without Walls 
by Jonathan Meades.
Unbound, 446 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 1 908717 18 4
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... likes lists) of refined barbarians. The pantheon contains John Vanbrugh, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, S.S. Teulon, William Butterfield, Frederick Pilkington, Dominikus and Gottfried Böhm, Claude Parent, Rodney Gordon, Richard Rogers (in his Gothic moods), Zaha Hadid. Sometimes, as with the Communist emulator of the style of Italian Fascism Douglas Stephen, architect of a ‘Dan Dare mini-skyscraper’ in ...
22 May 1986
The Lamberts: George, Constant and Kit 
by Andrew Motion.
Chatto, 388 pp., £13.95, April 1986, 0 7011 2731 7
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... idiom by turns vivacious, pungent (the unforgettable opening expostulation: ‘By the Rio Grande/They dance no sarabande’) and reflective, modelled on Negro singing (particularly that of the Music Hall artist Florence Mills), but also close to Delius’s manner and what would be Walton’s in his 1931 Osbert Sitwell oratorio Belshazzar’s Feast; a dancing, hard-hitting orchestral style, somewhat ...
28 June 1990
A.A. Milne: His Life 
by Ann Thwaite.
Faber, 554 pp., £17.50, June 1990, 0 571 13888 8
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... remained. Did Kenneth Grahame, who also supported a fairly enigmatic marriage, write The Wind in the Willows for his little boy as a result? Milne turned it into popular dramatic form as Toad of Toad Hall, but despite superficial resemblance to the Pooh world it remains a fundamentally different achievement. The Wind in the Willows is a masterpiece because it really does create a new world, a serious ...


Paul Addison

11 May 1995
True Blues: The Politics of Conservative Party Membership 
by Paul Whiteley, Patrick Seyd and Jeremy Richardson.
Oxford, 303 pp., £35, October 1994, 0 19 827786 5
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Frustrate Their Knavish Tricks: Writings on Biography, History and Politics 
by Ben Pimlott.
HarperCollins, 417 pp., £20, August 1994, 9780002554954
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... will rest on Thatcherite foundations. There will always be terrific rows in politics, and many significant issues on which the parties oppose one another. But these, to borrow a phrase from Rodney Lowe, are examples of ‘conflict within consensus’. Pimlott has been much in demand as a reviewer of political biography and reprints here the pieces he has written on a gallery of individuals ...


Emily Witt: Rachel Kushner

2 August 2018
The Mars Room 
by Rachel Kushner.
Cape, 340 pp., £16.99, June 2018, 978 1 910702 67 3
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... a vast landscape of things people don’t like to think about: slaughterhouses, industrialised agriculture, and the institutions of America’s penal system. Narrating the ride to jail is Romy Hall, a 29-year-old stripper and single mother who has been given a double life sentence for murdering a man who stalked her. The year is 2003. Her first parole hearing will be in 37 years’ time. She ...
20 March 2014
... search box, you get clips of stirring calls to revolution from radicalised moderates, a vast peaceful crowd singing the Ukrainian national anthem, Ukrainian revolutionary rap, a video of a savage Rodney King-style assault by Ukrainian policemen on a defenceless civilian, and as much more in the same vein as your eyes can bear. If you replace ‘Maidan’ with ‘Banderovtsy’, the catch-all term ...

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