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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs: "Mark Thwaite ... has a maverick, independent mind"

Blog entries on '12 October 2005'

Wednesday 12 October 2005

Ellis on t'Booker

Boyd Tonkin is livid that the Booker judges, "made possibly the worst, certainly the most perverse, and perhaps the most indefensible choice" in choosing Jonn Banville's bloated The Sea as this year's winner. Ellis has a different take:

I didn’t bother watching the Booker, in part because I couldn’t care less who won. I have no idea whether or not The Sea is a great novel or not, but Boyd Tonkin’s anger certainly made it sound interesting ... What annoys Tonkins also annoyed the Sunday Times reviewer, who grumbled that “Banville has a talent for sensuous phrasing and pungent observation of human frailty, but in other areas important for fiction – plot, character, pacing, suspense – The Sea is a crashing disappointment.” But Banville evidently intends to disappoint those readers who think that serious fiction should aspire to the condition of genre fiction, where suspense and characterisation in primary colours is everything.

Ellis then helpfully reproduces the whole of Banville's excoriating review of Ian McEwan's Saturday (also scathingly - and superbly - reviewed by Ellis in his The Politics of Ian McEwan' Saturday.)

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Wednesday 12 October 2005

Christian on Brett Easton Ellis

Christian on Brett Easton Ellis at the Cheltenham Literary Festival:

For a man about to kill himself, Brett Easton Ellis looks disarmingly chipper. He strides onto the stage and takes a seat opposite his interviewer. He looks perfect - just as I had imagined he would look. His sobre suit and shoes are immaculate. He is, perhaps, a little more handsome than I had expected, and as the evening progresses, I decide that he is a little less pretentious than he is generally credited to be ... 

(For all of Christian's article on Brett Easton Ellis at the Cheltenham Literary Festival.)

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Wednesday 12 October 2005

Lee on White

Lee has just reviewed Marie Darrieussecq's White for us:

It's a sad fact but I can't help thinking if Marie Darrieussecq was a man her profile as a writer of true, original and startling literature would be bigger [...] Darrieussecq's fifth book to date [...] is simply masterful; its detached, unhinged narrative is a joy to read - albeit a rather difficult, challenging joy. Such prose styling is probably the reason not that many people have heard of her in this country, flimsy poetic books by French authors not really being our cup of tea. I say "our" through gritted teeth, of course. I always have.

(For all of Lee's review of White.)

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Wednesday 12 October 2005

Lisa Williams - new site

Sandra says she is disappointed by what she wrote about Lisa Williams' Letters to Virginia Woolf. She certainly shouldn't be - it was a lovely entry. Lisa, who I interviewed last month, has just got herself a fancy new website so, for those who want to know more about her Letters, that is a very good place to start.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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Omens, after Alexander Pushkin

I rode to meet you: dreams
like living beings swarmed around me
and the moon on my right side
followed me, burning.

I rode back: everything changed.
My soul in love was sad
and the moon on my left side
trailed me without hope.

To such endless impressions
we poets give ourselves absolutely,
making, in silence, omen of mere event,
until the world reflects the deepest needs of the soul.

-- Louise Gluck
Averno (Carcanet Press)

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Word of the Day

The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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October's Books of the Month

The New Spirit of Capitalism The New Spirit of Capitalism
Luc Boltanski; Eve Chiapello
Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM
Steve Lake, Paul Griffiths

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