Category Archive: history

READS OF THE YEAR 2016: Mark West

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David Means Hystopia (Faber and Faber) I keep telling people this was my favourite novel of the year. 2016 was, among other things, a year of Sixties novels. I’m constantly on the lookout for these… Continue reading

READS OF THE YEAR 2016: Tom White

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I’m a little behind on my main pick for read of year: as many GRB readers will be well aware, Maggie Nelson’s remarkable memoir and work of “auto theory” The Argonauts (Graywolf Press)… Continue reading

READS OF THE YEAR 2016: Anne Kniggendorf

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This year I did a lot of binge-reading, mostly of Candice Millard, Anna Quindlen, Margot Livesey, and Neil Gaiman.  My favorite of Millard’s three books was Destiny of the Republic: a Tale of… Continue reading

ON THE AFTERLIFE OF CZECH SURREALISM: Vítězlav Nezval’s ‘The Absolute Gravedigger’ translated by Stephan Delbos and Tereza Novická

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Vítězlav Nezval The Absolute Gravedigger. Translated from the Czech by Stephan Delbos and Tereza Novická (Prague: Twisted Spoon Press, 2016) by Anna Förster In 1938, at a time that can be called both the… Continue reading

RIPOSTES AND ADDENDUMS: TEJU COLE’S ‘KNOWN AND STRANGE THINGS’

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Teju Cole, Known and Strange Things (Faber and Faber, 2016) by Rachel Sykes For the author of a critically lauded debut novel, Teju Cole is winningly reluctant to publish fiction. Open City (2011)… Continue reading

Ana Blandiana and Hölderlin’s Eternal Question

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by Viorica Patea In March, 2016 Ana Blandiana was awarded the European Poet of Freedom Prize in Gdansk, the Polish city of freedom and birthplace of Solidarnosc. The award was given for her… Continue reading

AN EXCERPT FROM CATRIONA KNAPMAN’S EDINBURGH FRINGE SHOW ‘OUT ON THE WORLD’

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CATRIONA KNAPMAN is a Scottish writer and human rights worker. Originally from Glasgow she has lived in eight countries in four continents over the past ten years. She currently works on land and… Continue reading

KIRUNA’S CHOICE: Dominic Hinde’s ‘A Utopia Like Any Other: Inside the Swedish Model’

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By Rory Scothorne Utopias are hard to avoid. Look at the popular culture of rich western societies, for instance. TV series like Master of None show implausibly wealthy millennials spending implausible quantities of… Continue reading

THINGS INVISIBLE TO SEE: Russia’s vanishing act on Ukraine and the country’s literary renaissance

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By Steve Komarnyckyj  Ukraine looms over the map of East Europe like a dragon, its head nuzzling Poland and its truncated tail fading out at the edge of the Black Sea. Yet this country,… Continue reading

IMPERSONAL UTOPIA: Joanna Walsh’s ‘Hotel’

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Joanna Walsh Hotel (Bloomsbury Books, 2015) by Laura Waddell Hotels are where our desires go on holiday. Object Lessons is “an essay and book series on the hidden lives of everyday things” which takes quotidian objects as… Continue reading