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... contingent of ANC activists hidden in the garden to ambush the Klan. Among them was the writer Tom Sharpe, who peeped out from behind a tree at the wrong moment. He was seen by the Klan, who opened fire and then retreated, guns blazing, under a hail of sticks and stones. ‘I remember thinking, this is mad,’ says Rowley. ‘We were only armed with ...


Mark Ford: Love and Theft, 2 December 2004

... in the LRB (5 August). The idea for the poem came from a comment in an excellent book by Tony Sharpe on Wallace Stevens, in which he speculates on the flocks of pigeons mentioned in the last lines of ‘Sunday Morning’: And, in the isolation of the sky, At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make Ambiguous undulations as they sink, Downward to ...

Narco Polo

Iain Sinclair, 23 January 1997

Mr Nice: An Autobiography 
by Howard Marks.
Secker, 466 pp., £16.99, September 1996, 0 436 20305 7
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Pulp Election: The Booker Prize Fix 
by Carmen St Keeldare.
Bluedove, 225 pp., £12.99, September 1996, 0 9528298 0 0
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... non-fiction. They’re reality, man.’ The McCann episode is a Flann O’Brien novel reworked by Tom Sharpe. The posthumous dream brought back as crude farce. ‘Lennon’s dead,’ McCann threatens, when the former Beatle declines to appear at a concert in Derry. The Irishman flaunts his professed IRA contacts and gets away with dealing drugs by making ...

Sheer Cloakery

Adam Mars-Jones: Joshua Cohen, 24 September 2015

Book of Numbers 
by Joshua Cohen.
Harvill Secker, 580 pp., £16.99, June 2015, 978 1 84655 865 8
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... style remains even when the book enters the territory of sex comedy, pitched more at the level of Tom Sharpe, say, than Philip Roth. ‘Joshua Cohen’, in Dubai to work on the memoir, intervenes when an Arab woman is being beaten by her husband in a hotel corridor (‘She was a wadded tossed abaya, a smutty black abayayaya – trill it through the ...

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