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Paul Auster

4321 by Paul Auster

April 2017, no. 390

The American critic Adam Gopnik writes: ‘Nothing is more American than our will to make the enormous do the work of the excellent. We have googly eyes for gargantuan statements.’ Paul Auster’s long-awaited novel, 4321, is a gargantuan statement. At almost 900 pages, the sheer physical heft of it is impossible to ignore. When a novel is as thick as it ...

Here and Now by Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee & Distant Intimacy by Frederic Raphael and Joseph Epstein

June 2013, no. 352

The recent publication of Willa Cather’s letters caused a stir in the United States. The American author, surprisingly underrated here, had explicitly and repeatedly said she did not want her letters made public. Some believe her wishes should be respected; others say the demands of history are greater than those of a long-dead individual.

This, of course, points to part of the allure of reading the private letters of famous people. Through them, we glimpse multiple facets of personalities that have been airbrushed by publicists: the grumpy and the affectionate, the outrageous and the encouraging, the truly intelligent and the superficially smug. We get flashes of insight into political and artistic decision-making and delicious celebrity gossip. Half of it would be actionable if everyone involved were not already dead.

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Granta 117: Horror edited by John Freeman

March 2012, no. 339

Arthur Conan Doyle wrote, ‘Where there is no imagination, there is no horror.’ The 117th issue of Granta is not short of imagination. Contributions range from a posthumously published zombie tale by Roberto Bolaño, to translated reportage on Peru by Santiago Roncagliolo, to new fiction by Stephen King. In Don DeLillo’s ‘The Starveling’, an elderly cinephile wanders the streets of Manhattan looking for a purpose. His life, which revolves around movie screenings, is a disturbing portrait of idleness. Even the most disconcerting circumstances fail to shake him from his malaise.

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