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Reviews

The White Cities: Reports from France 1925-39 by Joseph Roth

If France is the dead, Germany is the stillborn future, and Roth's exile's life the displaced, unliveable present.

John Sears
Reviews

The School of Night by Anne Rouse

Each poem is located within a wider structure that organises the collection as a whole, which offers a nocturnal sequence of instruction stretching from dusk till dawn, a poetic long night's journey into day.

John Sears
Reviews

Mischief Night - New & Selected Poems by Roddy Lumsden

His poems are costly, hard-worked monuments to his own internal struggle, jagged, often irregular chunks of language.

John Sears
Reviews

W. G. Sebald - A Critical Companion by J. J. Long and Anne Whitehead

Sebald's writings address memory as a structure of experience, and as a series of metaphors through which he tries to understand history and the responsibilities with which it burdens the present.

John Sears
Reviews

The Hollywood Dodo by Geoff Nicholson

The Hollywood Dodo itself is a film script, a mechanical reproduction of the extinct bird, a few corpses, fragments of a novel -- in fact a multitude of interlinked things.

John Sears
Reviews

Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia by John Gilmore

Elizabeth Short exists now as an image, the victim of what Gilmore calls 'crime as a spectacular act'.

John Sears
Reviews

The Language of Sharks by Pat MacEnulty

The stories wear their pop culture on their sleeves, critically contrasting with the existential longings expressed by the various characters.

John Sears
Reviews

The Night of Akhenaton: Selected Poems by Ágnes Nemes Nagy

The key themes of history as closure, a kind of irreversible process sealed by death into a possibility of resurrection, are never far away in Nagy's poetry.

John Sears
Reviews

Demonized by Christopher Fowler

All this is in the way of arguing that, in the hands of a writer like Fowler, the short story affords space for the exploration of contemporary fears.

John Sears
Reviews

Oracle Night by Paul Auster

It provokes such interrogation in a way that other novels don't, as if we can legitimately expect so much more from a writer who consistently delivers less, and who has made the theme of 'lessness' his own defining quality.

John Sears
Reviews

Forced March by Miklós Radnóti, translated by George Gömöri and Clive Wilmer

One of the functions of poetry is to express the unthinkable mixture of the horrific, the tragic and the banal that constitutes such a biography. The remarkable power of Radnóti's poems is that they succeed, repeatedly, in doing so.

John Sears
Books

The Book of Repulsive Women and Other Poems by Djuna Barnes

Barnes writes in a curiously anachronistic style, in which content jars against form, as if children's nursery rhymes were refilled with material purged by centuries of prurient censorship, and made vibrant, living things again.

John Sears
Reviews

Mailman by J. Robert Lennon

Mailman's double life offers a penetrating critique of American social hypocrisy, embroiled in its own weird narrative, reluctant to respond to much outside of itself, and forced, eventually, to go on the run in search of escape from itself and the world it has made.

John Sears
Reviews

Collected Poems 3: Poems 1997-2003 by Peter Reading

Reading invites the reader into a poetic world where the contemplation of natural beauty is an imperative in the face of its imminent destruction at the hand of man.

John Sears
Reviews

Eagles and Angels by Juli Zeh

The real states here, though, are states of mind, and in particular those freaked-out mental states that characterise the tradition of drug-trade books and films from Burroughs to Welsh.

John Sears
Reviews

Scenes From a Long Sleep: New & Collected Poems by Peter Didsbury

He writes in the long tradition of the English eccentric, weirdly both inhabiting and residing somewhere outside of normal reality.

John Sears
Reviews

Who Sleeps with Katz by Todd McEwen

Todd McEwen's new novel positively pulsates with vigorous life, which is odd, as superficially it's a novel about dealing with the knowledge of death.

John Sears
Reviews

Wolf Tongue: Selected Poems 1965-2000 by Barry MacSweeney

His [Barry MacSweeney] is a poetry of extreme suffering, of Eliot's 'infinitely gentle, infinitely suffering thing'.

John Sears
Reviews

The Wave and Other Stories by Caren Gussoff

Caren Gussoff's short stories map feminine experience of contemporary reality from the inside, and offer jolting rides through disturbed, damaged lives and minds. Her fictional worlds are fractured by emotional pain, criss-crossed by barely-healed scar tissue, gnarled and knotted by frustrated desires and thwarted ambitions.

John Sears
Reviews

'Stasiland: True Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall' by Anna Funder

In Stasiland, Funder presents a journalistic narrative in the style of a fictional one, so that characters and thematic threads link up to elaborate deeper symbolic significances.

John Sears
Books

Strongly Spent: 50 Years of Poetry

This is a consummately chosen selection of powerful poems, rewarding to read, and remaining in the reader's mind long after the book has been put down.

John Sears
Reviews

Fields Away by Sarah Wardle

Wardle plays games with rhyme, resting content with near- or para-rhyme.

John Sears
Reviews

In Defence of Adultery by Julia Copus

Copus is above all a poet of enquiry and careful scrutiny, using conceits of almost metaphysical intensity to trigger the reader's curiosity.

John Sears
Reviews

All Day Permanent Red - War Music Continued by Christopher Logue

Offers a timely and wholly appropriate meditation on the historical recurrence of war as a fundamental human activity.

John Sears

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