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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Presque vu XXXXVI

Chris Routledge in Guardian Unlimited diagnoses how a really classy writer, like Dashiell Hammett, can make a diversion from their plot lead right to the story’s heart.

The story of Flitcraft is a simple one. A successful real-estate agent, with a happy family life and money in the bank, Flitcraft steps out of the office for lunch. A beam from a building site falls on the pavement near to him and he is lucky to escape with his life. But instead of returning to the office he just walks away, finally returning to the Pacific Northwest years later when he takes a job in Spokane, Washington under the name Charles Pierce. He remarries, and when Spade finds him he is living a very similar sort of life as before, but with a new wife, house, and responsibilities: “He adjusted himself to beams falling and when no more of them fell, he adjusted to them not falling”.


So through the unripe day
you bore your head,
And the day was plucked and
tasted bitter
As if still cold among the leaves

TimesOnline reports on new recordings of Philip Larkin poems which have been found in a Yorkshire garage


According to Wired the (American) Air Force is tightening restrictions on which blogs its troops can read, cutting off access to just about any independent site with the word “blog” in its web address. It’s the latest move in a larger struggle within the military over the value — and hazards — of the sites. At least one senior Air Force official calls the squeeze so “utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream.”

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