James Ley

James Ley reviews 'Silence' by Rodney Hall

James Ley
Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Isaiah Berlin famously divided people into two categories: hedgehogs and foxes. The former know one big thing with absolute certainty; the latter know many small things. When it comes to writers of fiction, a parallel distinction might be made on stylistic grounds. There are some writers who cultivate a finely attuned personal style – a style that becomes unmistak ...

Literary biography is an often derided genre. Writers, in particular, tend to be suspicious, if not openly hostile, toward what they are apt to regard as a secondary or parasitic form. And there are valid reasons for this wariness. The assumption behind a biography is, reasonably enough, that the writer’s life informs the work, but establishing the precise relevan ...

James Ley reviews 'Heat: 24'

James Ley
Tuesday, 19 April 2011

A declaration of interest is in order. I have twice appeared in the pages of HEAT. I am also in the latter stages of a doctorate, which I have been writing for the past few years under the supervision of HEAT’s editor, Ivor Indyk. Under normal circumstances, I would decline to review a new edition of the journal for these reasons. The latest edit ...

James Ley reviews 'Freedom' by Jonathan Franzen

James Ley
Tuesday, 07 December 2010

In 1996, with two well-received but not widely read novels to his credit, Jonathan Franzen published a long essay in Harper’s magazine in which he aired his concerns about the novel’s waning cultural authority...

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