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The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age
The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age
by Vic Gatrell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.63

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an engaging and splendidly illustrated study, 7 April 2014
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I bought this for its study of Hogarth in context, but it proved to be much more than that, dripping with precise and telling facts about the ramshackle but wonderfully inventive world around Coventry Garden in the eighteenth century.


Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell
Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell
by Javier Marias
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.71

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary achievement, 10 July 2013
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I've just finished the trilogy, having first got hooked on Marias' long, reflective sentences in A Heart so White. The pivotal actions are told with fascinating psychological precision, so much so that the drama can be held in suspension so we can see how Jaime/Jacobo is affected by it as it unfolds. But that's not the half of it - the nameless group he belongs to on the edge of MI6, interwoven with the stories of the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath, make this a compelling historical novel and, ultimately, a rigorously ethical investigation of how war and peacetime violence alike transform and sometimes poison their participants, even those who are just part of the propaganda effort. Lots of other themes and conflicts to be thought about further - but for now, I wanted to share the impact this has had on me before I go away and see what others have said - not to mention the rest of his writing.


The Late Walter Benjamin (New Directions in Religion and Literature)
The Late Walter Benjamin (New Directions in Religion and Literature)
by John Schad
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new direction..., 26 July 2012
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I have to declare a double interest - I know the author, and I used to deliver Christmas post to the South Oxhey estate where this novel is set. The photos of South Oxhey (and the entries from the local paper, the West Herts & Watford Observer) that punctuate the text suggest Sebald, but it's not that gloomy or portentous. It is, I think, on the way to establishing a similarly fresh and inventive form for researched, personally involved, historical fiction. Mr Tal (one of Benjamin's own pseudonyms) speaks entirely in the words of Walter Benjamin, and that in itself is a revelation (to me), of just how interesting Benjamin's ideas and obiter dicta are. He and his friends Porlock and Painter form a kind of Beckettian comic trio towards the end of the novel (they try to turn Tal's discourse off in a scene reminiscent of Lucky in Waiting for Godot, though without the violence). Schad has long been interested in Derrida, another theorist for whom that label is inadequate. As he responds to the political and religious sides of Benjamin, so he constructs a critique of this postwar overspill estate. With this book, he has taken his personal involvement with the multiple stands of literary critical, theoretical and creative writing, and turned it into a genre that is fresh & compelling. And it made me want to read more Benjamin.


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