Review | The Intelligence Park by Gerald Barry at the Royal...

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The Royal Opera House seems to be celebrating the career of Gerald Barry this season. In February they are staging his latest opera, Alice’s...

Review | Don Pasquale by Donizetti at the Royal Opera House

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Don Pasquale by Donizetti is a frothy comedy – or at least it should be. This new production at the Royal Opera House by...

Review | The Magic Flute at the Royal Opera House

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Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte returns to the Royal Opera House in the seventh revival of David McVicar’s incredible production. There is good reason that this...

Essay | Reflections on The Brothers Karamazov by Patrick Maxwell

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In his masterpiece, Enemies of Promise (1938), Cyril Connolly distinguishes between two different styles of writing, which he terms as the ‘Mandarin’ and the ‘Vernacular’. In the former group: Edward Gibbon, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce; among the latter: William Hazlitt, George Orwell, and Christopher Isherwood. Fyodor Dostoevsky is a writer of neither groups [...]

Interview | Cecilia Brunson Projects Founder on I Am Awake by...

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Eric Block Cecilia Brunson Projects Founder on I Am Awake by Feliciano Centurión Cecilia Brunson opened her eponymous Bermondsey-based gallery in 2015, providing a much needed European...

Review | I May Be Stupid But I’m Not That Stupid...

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‘Thanks to art, instead of seeing one world, our own, we see it multiplied...’ Selima Hill is a unique voice in contemporary British poetry, as the title of her latest collection — I May Be Stupid But I’m Not That Stupid — implies, there is more to her than meets the eye. Her poetry is eclectic and electric; it cartwheels through juxtapositions and leaps of logic [...]

Review | The Night of the Long Goodbyes by Erik Martiny

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The Night of the Long Goodbyes, Erik Martiny, River Boat Books, 2020, 282pp, $17.95 (paperback) Erik Martiny’s The Night of the Long Goodbyes is a hugely...

Essay | Vonnegut’s ‘Black Humor’

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I had made her so unhappy that she had developed a sense of humor, which she certainly didn’t have when I married her . . . This line from Bluebeard’s narrator remarks on another kind of humor, the black humor Vonnegut is best known for. Its source is helplessness and despair. He explains: Laughter or crying is what a human being does when there’s nothing else he can do [...]

Interview | George Salis: Sea Above, Sun Below

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Author George Salis has just published his first novel with River Boat Books. Sea Above, Sun Below is described as containing the following elements: ‘Upside-down lightning, a group of uncouth skydivers, resurrections, a mother's body overtaken by a garden, aquatic telepathy, and a peeling snake-priest’. Read on to get a taste of this oneiric world [...]

Essay | Gentrifying New York by Leonard Quart

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Leonard Quart Gentrifying New York The New York one walks through these days is unrecognizable from the city that existed a decade ago. New developments are...

Review | Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits

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Throughout art history, the self-portrait has remained a point of captivation. From Velasquez to Van Gogh, the artist’s rendering of selfhood provides a fascinating insight into the psyche of a figure often shrouded in mystery, revealing to the viewer traits which even the photograph fails to capture [...]

Interview | Quentin Blake: Anthology of Readers

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Best known for his illustrations of Roald Dahl’s books — including Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda, The BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory amongst others — Quentin Blake's latest exhibition, Anthology of Readers, turns his eye to book-lovers [...]

Review | Insurrecto by Gina Apostol

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I’ve always had reservations about reviews that liken books to film. It’s too easy to draw parallels between, say, sweeping visuals, swift or dialogue-driven narrative, and cinematic technique. I’m often left wondering how a novel – the experience of sitting down to read one – can ever really be like cinema [...]

Interview | Cyril de Commarque: Artificialis at Saatchi Gallery

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The acclaimed French artist Cyril de Commarque has created an ambitious and powerful multimedia installation that invites us to contemplate notions of legacy and transition, now on exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. The artist’s latest project is the result of a special commission by Saatchi – for its Artist-In-Residency programme – with a brief to respond [...]

Interview | Bahia Shehab: At the Corner of a Dream at...

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Eric Block Bahia Shehab: At the Corner of a Dream at the Aga Khan Centre Gallery The acclaimed Egyptian-Lebanese artist, designer, educator and street art activist Bahia Shehab’s work first...

Essay | Proust’s Secrets Revealed

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Marcel Proust and his oeuvre are at once overexposed and mysterious. Entire books and studies have explored the minute details of his personal life and literary work. There is a book about what cures and medications he took specifically for his insomnia. There is a hundred-page academic study dedicated solely to the eight-word first sentence [...]

Interview | Nathalie Boobis, Director: Deptford X

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Eric Block Interview: Nathalie Boobis, Director of Deptford X This year Deptford X, London’s longest running contemporary visual arts festival, celebrates its 21st birthday with its...

Review | Love, Rage – and Laughter by Alex Diggins

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It is hard to smile at the apocalypse. Extinction Rebellion, the global climate crisis movement occupying cities and social media feeds from Cairo to Melbourne, signs its newsletters: ‘In love and rage’. The climate-induced societal breakdown is, this sign off implies, no laughing matter. Higher ideals and deeper, more searching emotions [...]

Interview | Richard Baker on winning the 2019 HIX Award

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This year’s HIX Award attracted more than 600 entrants and, as founder Mark Hix admits, it was very tough trying to pick a winner...

Poetry | The Scientist by Andrew Wynn Owen

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Andrew Wynn Owen The Scientist Before the time of skiing on Europa,               Enceladus still a far-flung starry dream, When humankind had...

Review | Slip of a Fish by Amy Arnold

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Ash, the protagonist of Amy Arnold’s debut novel, is a curious creation; she is fascinated by the etymologies and sounds of language, storing her favourite discoveries in an imaginary ‘word collection’, she swims in an abandoned lake with her daughter Charlie to practice breathing underwater, steals dogs from pubs [...]

Essay | On Angela Carter by Sharlene Teo

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I was thirteen when I first encountered The Bloody Chamber, back in the humid and claustrophobic childhood bedroom that I shared with my older sister in Bukit Timah, Singapore. I remember idly scanning my sister’s bookshelf; plywood, festooned with glow-in-the-dark plastic stars. I spotted a bent orange spine on the second shelf [...]

Review | Big Love by Balla & The Night Circus and...

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Though Balla, one of Slovakia’s most prominent contemporary novelists, has been compared to Kafka, he might more reasonably be called a nihilistic Etgar Keret (Israeli author of The Nimrod Flipout and multiple other collections of surreal short stories), given the thoroughly ironic [...]

Interview | Chris McCabe: Poems from the Edge of Extinction

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Chris McCabe is the National Poetry Librarian. In 2013 he won the Ted Hughes Award and his works include numerous poetry collections, including Speculatrix (2014) and The Triumph of Cancer (2018). His new poetry anthology Poems from the Edge of Extinction, published by Chambers this year, collects poems from endangered languages. The anthology began as a project initiated by The National Poetry Library in 2017 [...]

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