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A Little Electronic Dawn

James Francken: Perlman, Anderson and Heller

24 August 2000
The Reasons I Won't Be Coming 
by Elliot Perlman.
Faber, 314 pp., £9.99, July 2000, 0 571 19699 3
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Turn of the Century 
by Kurt Anderson.
Headline, 819 pp., £7.99, February 2000, 0 7472 6800 2
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Slab Rat 
by Ted Heller.
Abacus, 332 pp., £10.99, March 2000, 0 349 11264 9
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... age, it is the sense that computers could become substitutes for human interaction, that machines might cheat people out of relationships with one another. But e-mail makes small talk easier: TedHeller’s entertaining novel, Slab Rat, shows that all those threadbare jokes and messages that circulate from one person to another with no obvious origin are sent by e-mail because it is the perfect way ...

Mommy-Daddy Time

Zoë Heller: Can parents have fun?

4 June 2014
All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood 
by Jennifer Senior.
Virago, 308 pp., £13.99, March 2014, 978 0 349 00551 5
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... kids message being snatched from the jaws of sleep deprivation and despondency. The book spent six weeks on the bestseller list and has earned Senior the ultimate imprimatur of a lecturing gig at the TED conference. ‘All Joy and No Fun inspired me to think differently about my own experience as a parent,’ Andrew Solomon observed in his New York Times review. ‘Over and over again, I find myself ...

Bloodbaths

John Sutherland

21 April 1988
Misery 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 320 pp., £11.95, September 1987, 0 340 39070 0
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The Tommyknockers 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 563 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 340 39069 7
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Touch 
by Elmore Leonard.
Viking, 245 pp., £10.95, February 1988, 9780670816545
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Sideswipe 
by Charles Willeford.
Gollancz, 293 pp., £10.95, March 1988, 0 575 04197 8
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Ratking 
by Michael Dibdin.
Faber, 282 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 0 571 15147 7
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... of the world. But, as he disarmingly reminds us, there is worse literary company than Lovecraft, Leiber, Bloch, Matheson and Jackson. ‘I could, for example, be an “important” writer like Joseph Heller and publish a novel every seven years or so, or a “brilliant” writer like John Gardner and write obscure books for bright academics who eat macrobiotic foods and drive old Saabs with faded but ...

The Hagiography Factory

Thomas Meaney: Arthur Schlesinger Jr

8 February 2018
Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian 
by Richard Aldous.
Norton, 486 pp., £23.99, November 2017, 978 0 393 24470 0
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... When Kennedy pushed through the biggest tax cut in a generation, Schlesinger swallowed his dissent. J.K. Galbraith, his close comrade, steadily lost ground to the more enterprising Walter Heller, who perhaps inadvertently helped ease the transition between Keynesianism and the coming era of neoliberalism. ‘Heller, you’ve won,’ Galbraith told him in 1963. ‘The president told me to ...

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