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Otherwise Dealt With

Chalmers Johnson: ‘extraordinary rendition’, 8 February 2007

Ghost Plane: The Inside Story of the CIA’s Secret Rendition Programme 
by Stephen Grey.
Hurst, 306 pp., £16.95, November 2006, 1 85065 850 1
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... rendition’ thanks to the work of journalists writing for mainstream media. One of these is Stephen Grey, a regular contributor to the New York Times, the Guardian, the Times, the Sunday Times and the New Statesman. His new book divides fairly neatly into an account of how he and his colleagues uncovered the CIA’s secret flights to torture ...

Little Grey Cells

J. Robert Lennon: More Marple than Poirot, 5 March 2020

Big Sky 
by Kate Atkinson.
Black Swan, 356 pp., £8.99, January, 978 0 552 77666 0
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... fiction and understands how an investigation is supposed to unfold. ‘Time to regroup the little grey cells,’ Atkinson has him tell himself after a setback. ‘He tipped an invisible hat in Poirot’s direction. Jackson preferred the Belgian to Miss Marple. He was straightforward, where Miss Marple was endlessly devious.’ Unfortunately for him, his ...

Short Cuts

Nick Richardson: ‘The Bestseller Code’, 17 November 2016

... Ludmilla’s reading. Archer and Jockers are interested in the pumpkin plants – writers like Stephen King, John Grisham and Danielle Steel, perennial presences on the New York Times bestseller list – and what makes them sell so well. By looking only at textual features their machine has isolated the essence of the bestseller, Archer and Jockers ...

Four Poems

Charles Boyle, 23 November 1989

... a priest, a priest in full regalia, in tears? Weeping's the word, not crying, and the snotty grey handkerchief he keeps up the sleeve of his vestment can't stem the waters of Babylon. Arlington Mansions Towards midnight on my 30th birthday I was teasing a 5-amp fuse wire between a pair of recalcitrant screws, remembering in the dark April 1961: Yuri ...

Diary

Stephen Smith: On the Applegarth, 13 April 2000

... never at a loss for a Cup Final ticket. He was married to Bessie, who banged the gong for dinner. Stephen Smith, my grandfather, was in on the café venture with his brother and also had shops in New Brighton (hardware, glass). Stephen was a sidesman at the Baptist church. No TV was allowed on Sundays, except for Songs of ...

How to be a queen

David Carpenter: She-Wolves, 15 December 2011

She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England before Elizabeth 
by Helen Castor.
Faber, 474 pp., £9.99, July 2011, 978 0 571 23706 7
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... The first of them, Matilda, the daughter of King Henry I, fought for the throne against King Stephen, aspiring to make herself queen-regnant. The other three were all queen-consorts: Eleanor of Aquitaine, who rebelled against her husband, Henry II; Isabella of France, who, with her lover, Roger Mortimer, deposed and murdered her husband, Edward II; and ...

Under the Soles of His Feet

Stephen Alford: Henry’s Wars, 4 April 2019

The English People at War in the Age of Henry VIII 
by Steven Gunn.
Oxford, 297 pp., £35, January 2018, 978 0 19 880286 0
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... William Body, who complained about his lodgings was put very firmly in his place by Lord Leonard Grey: ‘I saide,’ Grey reported, ‘I was sure he sholde never be so good, as the Dukes of Norfoke, and Suffolke, and my lorde my brother [the Marquess of Dorset], whom I had seen lodged wors.’ Those in command exhibited ...

Diary

Stephen Smith: Encounters at Holy Cross, 18 November 1993

... the bottom step, and then the only one who registered distinctly was the youngest – moustache, grey fleecy sweatshirt. The other two, in their late forties or early fifties, were neutrally swaddled in anoraks or car coats. But now that I gave them my attention, they all looked alike: they were all as shinily pale as camphor. All at once, a fourth man ...

Kitty still pines for his dearest Dub

Andrew O’Hagan: Gossip, 6 February 2014

Becoming a Londoner: A Diary 
by David Plante.
Bloomsbury, 534 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 1 4088 3975 1
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The Animals: Love Letters between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy 
edited by Katherine Bucknell.
Chatto, 481 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7011 8678 4
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... by Bloomsbury – the books, the people, the scarves, the gossip – which led them to venerate Stephen Spender as one of its last links. Squeezed into a narrow bed, they would read Spender’s World within World together and admire ‘that entirely English’ set-up in which, Plante wrote at the time, ‘I fantasise having a place, even if that world no ...

A Visit to My Uncle

Emma Tennant, 31 July 1997

... flashes or not at all, is that it was put together as a new home for my father’s brother, Stephen. Wilsford had long been far too expensive for this eccentric solitary to run, if ‘run’ was a word which could ever apply to my uncle. Here, only a few hundred yards from the old house he had always lived in, was the solution. Teasels had been ...

Because it’s pink

Stephen Mulhall: John Hyman’s objective eye, 25 January 2007

The Objective Eye: Colour, Form and Reality in the Theory of Art 
by John Hyman.
Chicago, 286 pp., £20, June 2006, 0 226 36553 0
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... subjects. The internal subject is who or what we see when we look at a picture: for example, a grey-haired, unsmiling, elderly woman wearing a crown. The external subject, if the picture has one, is specified by picking out a particular individual in the real world that the picture portrays – in my imagined case, Queen Elizabeth II. Plainly, one way we ...

The Clothed Life

Joanna Biggs: Linda Grant, 31 March 2011

We Had It So Good 
by Linda Grant.
Virago, 344 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 1 84408 637 5
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... and lived to see night fall.’ (That’s from Waugh’s Men at Arms.) Then the first image: Stephen Newman in his shorts, aged nine, on the ‘most exciting day’ of his life – a day spent in the fur storage depot in which his father looks after Marilyn Monroe’s mink. The sun follows him to a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford: ‘It was the summer the ...

Moving in

Patricia Beer, 20 November 1980

A Poor Man’s House 
by Stephen Reynolds.
London Magazine Editions, 320 pp., £5.50, August 1980, 0 904388 35 2
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... Stephen Reynolds is coming back. There have been at least two indications of this recently. The prophet is no longer without honour in his own, adopted country, for a plaque has just been unveiled to him in Sidmouth, with the blessing of the town council and a photograph of the proceedings on the front page of the local paper ...

Diary

Alan Hollinghurst: In Houston, 18 March 1999

... buildings there. Houston’s Pevsner, and my main means of imaginative entry to the city, is Stephen Fox, a professor at both the large and unlovely University of Houston, where I am teaching, and the élite Rice University, which has a beautiful campus laid out by the Boston architect Ralph Adams Cram just before the Great War; Cram’s original ...
... as it strikes ordinary lives. In The Child in Time, a child goes missing at a supermarket, and Stephen and Julie’s domestic existence is shattered; in Enduring Love, Clarissa and Joe witness the death of John Logan as he falls from a balloon, are changed for ever, and spend the rest of the novel trying to absorb the consequences of the spectacle; Black ...

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