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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, 17 April 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel 
directed by Wes Anderson.
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... they were not at home, stayed at the best hotels, where in the words of the leading character in Wes Anderson’s new film, their needs were met ‘before the needs were needed’. The wealthy were pampered, and the pampered felt wealthy. Is the Grand Budapest Hotel of the movie in Budapest? How could you ask? Budapest is just a name, a link to Eastern ...

On Hera Lindsay Bird

Stephanie Burt: Hera Lindsay Bird, 30 November 2017

... and a Bill Manhire, and a W.B. Yeats (‘What can I but enumerate old themes?’), there is also a Wes Anderson: Bird writes to be loved, to fold what is embarrassing about her temperament into what is winsome, what’s cool or cold into what’s intimate and warm. ‘What’s the point of saying new things?’ another poem begins. Perhaps we seek only ...

No nation I’ve ever heard of

Garth Greenwell: Matthew Griffin’s ‘Hide’, 19 January 2017

by Matthew Griffin.
Bloomsbury, 272 pp., £16.99, August 2016, 978 1 4088 6708 2
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... in a novel narrated by a taxidermist. One can easily enough imagine the house in Hide as a Wes Anderson set, cluttered with deer heads and saccharine little dioramas such as the ‘turn-of-the-century squirrel couple out courting’ that Wendell has arranged in his studio. And there is something Salingeresque in Wendell’s early ruminations on ...

Did he leap?

Paul Mendez: ‘Harlem Shuffle’, 16 December 2021

Harlem Shuffle 
by Colson Whitehead.
Fleet, 320 pp., £16.99, September, 978 0 7088 9944 1
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... motive is ‘monetary gain, and to bring Black Harlem down a notch’. Pepper turns up last in a Wes Anderson-esque bellhop uniform and with ‘gravel eyes that made you stare at your feet’. (The hotel elevator becomes a character in its own right, recalling Whitehead’s 1999 novel The Intuitionist, in which the first Black woman to be accepted into ...

Laertes has a daughter

Bee Wilson: The Redgraves, 6 June 2013

The Redgraves: A Family Epic 
by Donald Spoto.
Robson, 361 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84954 394 1
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The House of Redgrave: The Lives of a Theatrical Dynasty 
by Tim Adler.
Aurum, 336 pp., £20, July 2012, 978 1 84513 623 9
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... you can trust. In his telling of the Redgraves they come across rather like characters in a Wes Anderson movie (The Royal Tenenbaums or Moonrise Kingdom): all unusually talented in their different ways and incestuously close, yet somehow closed off in their own little worlds. Occasionally, Redgraves have shown a desire to move away from the ...

Benign Promiscuity

Clair Wills: Molly Keane’s Bad Behaviour, 18 March 2021

Good Behaviour 
by Molly Keane.
NYRB, 291 pp., £12, May, 978 1 68137 529 8
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... drifts of Michaelmas daisies, and grey-blue pools of agapanthus lilies.It’s like a scene from a Wes Anderson film. You are immersed in one set of details until your eye is drawn by a sudden shift in focus to what lies beyond or slightly outside the frame. The serpents, the flesh-eating dahlias, and above all the artificiality of the tableau foreshadow ...

At the Beverly Wilshire

Ric Burns, 8 January 1987

Hollywood Husbands 
by Jackie Collins.
Heinemann, 508 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 434 14090 2
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Letters from Hollywood 
by Michael Moorcock.
Harrap, 232 pp., £10.95, August 1986, 0 245 54379 1
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Rain or Shine: A Family Memoir 
by Cyra McFadden.
Secker, 178 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 436 27580 5
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... story, which chronicles the showbiz mores of a bewildering galaxy of cartoon characters – Silver Anderson, Mannon Cable, Jack Python, Jade Johnson, Whitney Valentine – lurks an italicised sub-plot. This tells of an unnamed victim of sexual abuse who falls into the quite plausible routine of torching her abusers to a charred crisp in their own homes. When ...

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