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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Posts added in December 2009

The Blue Tango by Eoin McNamee – a review

McNamee offers up an idiosyncratic prose style which wrong-footed me for the first fifty or a hundred pages: The next case was a young man arrested for grievous bodily harm. He pleaded guilty. A policeman told the court that he had struck his wife in the face with a glass while under the influence of […]

The Publisher’s Pudding

Eliza Acton was a nineteenth century poet who turned her pen to the writing of recipes. In her book, Modern Cookery In All Its Branches she gives recipes for a publisher’s pudding, and also for a poor author’s pudding. Things haven’t changed much: The Publisher’s Pudding. This pudding can scarcely be made too rich. First […]

Have you seen the most beautiful woman in the world?

Yes, sometime around 1984 when I worked at a store. The store was empty and in came a Hindu woman. She looked like a princess and well could have been one. She bought some hanging costume jewelry from me. I was at the point of fainting. She had copper skin, long red hair, and the […]

Bolaño’s Vast Forest of Literature

“… i would never manage to create anything like a masterpiece. You may say that literature doesn’t consist solely of masterpieces, but rather is populated by so-called minor works. I believed that, too. Literature is a vast forest and the masterpieces are the lakes, the towering trees or strange trees, the lovely, eloquent flowers, the […]

Falling off a cliff

John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, was speaking at York University the other night. He told the following story: A man out walking by the coast fell off a cliff. On the way down, after a couple of hundred feet a shrub or tree broke his fall. He managed to grab a branch, and there […]