:: Reviews archive ( click for articles pre-2006)

Philosophical Toys published 26/08/2015

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Reading this takes us to the libidinal chaos of the founding stories, a female Christ, doubles, and in the novel Nina’s mother ‘… a star…[who] needed a lackey… she would sing, she would tell endless stories, but then they had a gagging effect on you these stories… now and again she would spark off a scandal, she had to get all the attention, even if it was negative attention.’ The mother is the scandal who shakes the world out of a torpor through presenting her beauty as both a necessity and consequence: ‘… my mother in the street, with no clothes on, hysterical naked, with a folded gown hanging on her arm, wearing just a pair of yellow stilettos, definitely drunk, she used to say wine was good for your blood, she was so pale.’

Richard Marshall reviews Susana Medina‘s Philosophical Toys.

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Trolls published 25/08/2015

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Philips argues that there is only the thinnest of lines between trolling and sensationalist corporate media. The main difference is that Trolls do it for leisure and for no pay whereas corporate media do it as a business strategy and get paychecks. She claims that they are comfortable fits within the hypernetworked digital media landscape. Trolls use the internet technologies creatively and expertly. They align with corporate and social media marketers. They mobilize the dominate cultural tropes of adversarial and (mainly white) male gendered notions of success, dominance, western entitlement, expansionism and colonialism, and embody the key values of the USA – life , liberty and freedom of expression.

Richard Marshall reviews Whitney Phillips’ ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things. Mapping the Relationshp Between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture.

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Trade Encroaching a Sacrament… published 22/08/2015

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Armand’s writing is perceptual, vivid, senses drenched – and so the visceral and bodily responses are foregrounded throughout. Yet by so doing his writing connects us to the neural circuits that instantaneously appraise the perceptions felt along the dimensions of the hedonic, the prudential, dangerous, noxious, nourishing and so on, a buckled sensory array that each organismic character is relating to. These are the bed rock of Armand’s writing, whereby he reenacts as simulations the raw material of biographical narratives whilst showing that these are selves that depend – overdepend – on the bodily stimuli. Without that, they lose a sense of self-identity, as if they have lost in some very distinctive way, a necessarily personal perspective on the information.

Richard Marshall reviews Loius Armand’s Abacus.

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Recurrent Unconsidered Joy: A review of Hidden Valleys by Justin Barton published 19/08/2015

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Hidden Valleys involves a large amount of country wandering, though with more precarity than the Armitages and MacFarlanes are currently enduring. During Barton’s teenage years, he and his mother travelled the country from hotel to hostel, town to village, against the sour backdrop of familial strife and a contested will. His investment in the landscape, then, was everything but professional.

Cal Revely-Calder on Hidden Valleys by Justin Barton.

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The river is immense: a review of Southeaster by Haroldo Conti published 07/08/2015

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Sudeste by Haroldo Conti is a novel set in the margins, on the mouth of the delta, a landscape of channels, canals, sandbanks, islands, and reeds, and it tells the story of Boga and his restless movement through this habitat. This is a world of light and water, reeds and birds, fish and currents, boats and tides, sky and wind, guns and knives, life and death.

Iain Robinson reviews Haroldo Conti‘s Southeaster

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A Holiday-Sized Revolution: A review of Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett published 06/08/2015

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The style feels modernist-y, has points where it verges on sing-song, verse, or essay, and is very aware of the obfuscating tyranny of language: in other words, a properly modern work.

William Harris reviews Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett.

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Sam Dunn Is Dead & Theory of the Great Game. published 05/08/2015

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For them the situation required blood and moon crazyness to redirect social synapses into something thrillingly new, refreshed and collective. They indulged in experimental metaphysics and took copious drugs to this end. They saw no point in merely building a left wing political party or joining up with a Surrealism that seemed at times to be nothing more than just another idealist protest group. Instead readers of the magazine were to come face to face with themselves. The idea was ‘to make them despair.’ What they suspected was that the avant-garde-ists and all their potential allies were largely acting in bad faith and were merely concocting intellectual and artistic distractions.

Richard Marshall reviews Bruno Corra’s Sam Dunn is Dead and Rene Daumal & Roger Gilbert-Lecomte etc’s Theory of the Great Game.

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the pink trophy table of non-being: A Review of Alma Venus by Pere Gimferrer published

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Gimferrer’s memories are our memories. Gimferrer’s readers are part of the pact, participating in a Quixotic visionary reading of western poetry along with the author. “All poems are one”, writes Gimferrer. Suddenly we too, having become part of the text, feel used. It was, after all, the author who made this pact on his own, when he set out to write such a poem.

David Swartz reviews Pere Gimferrer’s Alma Venus.

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exiled from daylight published 27/07/2015

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Nightwalking is a meticulously researched yet eminently readable and entertaining guide to London at night and on foot – with a radical heart. It is also a sweeping history of London, from the Middle Ages to the late-Victorian period.

Julian Hanna reviews Matthew Beaumont‘s Nightwalking.

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a frightful disease of the mind: Sylvère Lotringer’s Mad Like Artaud reviewed published

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According to Artaud, madness spreads; it’s contagious to the very people who surround it. And between the publication of these early texts, and the later texts, in 1937, Artaud became, in Sylvère Lotringer’s words, ‘ a manic lunatic, who spouted mystical writings by Saint Jerome and invoked the magical powers of the universe to protect himself’. Lotringer’s book speaks to the way that Artaud’s madness spreads. It discusses the way in which Artaud, during his own lifetime and his complex cultural legacy, has infected those around him, with the very same madness that Artaud himself claimed he was not touched by.

By Tristan Burke.

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