Deborah Delano is many things. She describes herself on the back of her first book, The Things You Do, as growing up a working class lesbian, during a time when that was not necessarily an easy thing to be. She is now a teacher, a writer, a married woman, and a wholly fascinating human being, as this autobiography shows.
Pádraig Ó Méalóid interviews Deborah Delano.
I am an anti-metaphysician, that is, I think that metaphysical debate requires therapeutic treatment. It’s not quite that, as you put it yourself, Wittgenstein holds that things like selves are just reifications of language; I’d be happier to say that one should talk of persons rather than selves, as these seem to be third- as much as first-personal entities. (Actually I wouldn’t be as hostile to metaphysics as Wittgenstein was; it’s interesting that he wrote little about space and time, where metaphysics seems inevitable.
Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews A.J. Hamilton.
Blecher’s book is being compared to those of Kafka and Bruno Schulz, authors whose work is similarly attended by a kind of extratextual loss and impossibility — which would be an unfair comparison if Blecher did not so clearly share their preoccupation with the limits of substance, and even more, their skillfulness in rendering the uncanny into prose.
Colin Torre on Adventures in Immediate Irreality by Max Blecher.
German writer Christa Wolf asks herself: “What kind of faith will the people of the future (assuming there are people in the future) read out of our stone, steel, and concrete ruins?” If we’re to take history as a reliable measure, the story of the 20th and 21st centuries will, in two or three thousand years, be quite the simple yarn: we built the freeways out of national pride; we liberated peoples across the globe from their cruel dictators; we went to war against terrorists to defend our freedom; and so on. Every ruin has its myth; every war has its Helen.
Patrick Nathan on Cassandra, myth, Google Maps, and the power of stories.
This is tough knotted, hard-hearted artifice. Its audacious operation is a newly articulated subordination of erotic laceration. Here ecstatic torments are managed as metrosexual assimilation and sublimation. The novel is a jigsaw that requires a reader to wonder whether multiplication of perspectives fragments and dismantles or accumulates and deepens. The surface narrative is smooth and quick, hardly stirring the air. That’s not where the intensity lies. The wild apollonian tautness is in the architecture, is caught in the style and the structure which butchers the joints of the book’s universe. The surface remains perfectly self-controlled and attentive, a state of pale distraction that Benjamin defined as perfected modernism.
Richard Marshall reviews Toby Litt’s Life-Like.
The full philosophical sense of kairos is found in Christianity which understands an event in the world (the birth, death and resurrection of Jeusus of Nazareth) as a transformative moment. Heidegger in his account of originary and derivative time, in particular in the way in which he understands the moment of vision (Augenblick) in this context, draws implicitly on this distinction of chronos and kairos and in so doing brings together St. Paul, Augustine Luther and Kierkegaard, on the one hand, and Aristotle and Kant on the other.
Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Felix Ó Murchadha.
Why should a 3 hour working day be considered more insane than an 8-10 hour working day or a fifth of the population put in jail? Why should the sane submit to the insane, who think it right that a minority should decide whether or not a majority lives in penury or pleasure? Why should a particular mode of market-capture undermine our ability to seek philosophy and self-understanding rather than the economic bottom line, which, if it doesn’t kill us, certainly won’t follow us to the short-faring graves that await us all, even those few who manage to profit?
Jeremy Brunger on the role of Marxism in 2015.
We are given very little idea at first of what is really going on in these stories, and where, when, and why. But then you remember Rachel Kushner’s novels, and begin to suspect that most of these histories have been made up. In the first story, ‘The Great Exception’, there is an Admiral, a Queen, and a Greek Cartographer: I feel like I know them; do I know them? Or should we take Nabokov as our guide, when he tells us: ‘Fiction is fiction. To call a story a true story is an insult to both art and truth’? I think that approach is wiser.
Julian Hanna on Rachel Kushner‘s The Strange Case of Rachel K.
The Rebellious Life of Mrs Rosa Parks is not an easy read. Like Parks herself, Theoharis asks hard questions, and tells it like it is. Only a fool would argue nothing gets better, but two months before Bush laid a wreath at Parks’s casket, his government sat on its hands as the overwhelmingly black neighbourhoods of New Orleans were blasted by seawall. Theoharis’s book is a series of challenges: to people who believe racism a thing of the past, to Northern Americans who cast the civil rights struggles as good Northern liberals versus bad redneck wingnuts. It is also a challenge aimed at British people who look down on Americans for their sordid little race problem, while downplaying or ignoring the vast history, and active presence, of bigotry and small mindedness in this country. Above all, this story of Rosa Parks is a testament to the power of history. As the great Southern novelist William Faulkner said: ‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past.’
Max Dunbar reviews Jeanne Theoharis’ The Rebellious Life of Mrs Rosa Parks.
At one point among the most celebrated writers of his day, Lee’s legacy in contemporary culture is accompanied by an eerie silence. Along with Down and Out in Paris and London, Midsummer Morning, is one of the definitive chronicles of the aimless wandering generation of Europe caught between two world wars. Each town with a real identity, and most characters displaying an at times laughably innocent vision of the world, the book portrays what feels to me at least as the last embers of an authentic European experience, before the destruction of war took place, and the subsequent white-washing of mass tourism took hold.
Robert Greer on the oft-overlooked early British beatnik, Laurie Lee.