Review | The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada

Picture a large office, staffed with hundreds of employees. Each worker has their own cubicle, placed in long rows throughout the space to make a corporate honeycomb; their heads are quietly buried in their work. They’re next to each other, but not touching or talking. Their corporate workspaces embody the paradox of the cubicle: a part of something, but also completely isolated [...]

Fiction | “Smack” from Salt Slow by Julia Armfield

The following text is an extract from the story “Smack”, taken from Julia Armfield’s debut collection Salt Slow, published by Picador: 'The jellyfish come with the morning – a great beaching, bodies black on sand. The ocean empties, a thousand dead and dying invertebrates, jungled tentacles and fine, fragile membranes blanketing the shore two miles in each direction. They are translucent, almost spectral, as though the sea has exorcised its ghosts [...]'

Essay | Kafka & Camus by Jeffrey Meyers

It is odd that the two book-length studies of Albert Camus’ The Stranger (1942), by English Showalter and Alice Kaplan, do not discuss the profound influence of Franz Kafka’s The Trial (1925). Other critics have emphasized, denied or deplored this influence. Herbert Lottman notes that while writing his novel Camus 'had read and reread Kafka, whose work seemed to him prophetic, one of the most significant of our time.' The critic Jean Paulhan - thinking of Hemingway’s simple sentences [...]

Review | Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth's Strout's bestselling debut, Amy and Isabelle, announced the arrival of a serious talent. Her second, Abide With Me, went one better. With 2008's Olive Kitteridge she moved from novels to a trickier form: the cycle of interconnected stories. It was that rare kind of book that can reasonably be called a masterpiece, and it won its author the Pulitzer prize [...]

Review | Not Like Their Mothers: Ambai & Uhart

This autumn, Archipelago Books published two short story collections in translation: A. Ambai’s A Kitchen in the Corner of the House, translated by the late Lakshmi Holmström, and Hebe Uhart’s The Scent of Buenos Aires, translated by Maureen Shaughnessy. Ambai’s and Uhart’s collections reveal each author’s range as a storyteller [...]

Interview | Leo Dixon on Death in Venice at the Royal...

Stuart Martin Leo Dixon on Death in Venice at the Royal Opera House At only 23 years old, British dancer Leo Dixon has already begun an impressive...

Review | Werther at the Royal Opera House

Massenet’s Werther makes a welcome return to the Royal Opera House in the third revival of Benoît Jacquot’s 2004 production. Based on Goethe’s Die Leiden...

Interview | Keith Coventry: The Old Comedy

Eric Block Keith Coventry: The Old Comedy This month sees the opening of UPSTONE SOHO, a new gallery in the heart of Soho. Its inaugural show is...

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

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

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

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

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...

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...

‘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

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’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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...

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

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 [...]

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