SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Leticia Ochoa Adams
February 13, 2020
Tel Aviv gleamed like a jewel beneath us as we landed at Ben Gurion Airport at night and went through Israeli border control. “Who invited you to Israel? And your wife, what does she do?” I had not been back to Israel since 1981. In Jerusalem, half an hour away by train, we unpacked at
October 31, 2019
Serotonin By Michel Houellebecq, William Heinemann, 309pp, £20/$27 Michel Houellebecq, the French novelist and professional contrarian, delights in puncturing metro-liberal orthodoxies and shocking the reader with descriptions of internet pornography, pill-popping, sex tourism, the plight of the modern male and other aspects of urban anomie. Though not for the faint-hearted, Houellebecq is admired in France
August 15, 2019
Chanel’s Riviera: Life, Love and Struggle for Survival on the Côte d’Azur 1930-1944 By Anne de Courcy Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 304pp, £20/$24.50 Ever since Coco Chanel launched her best-selling perfume, Chanel No 5, almost a century ago in 1921, French fragrance has acquired a mystique all of its own. Chanel’s abstract, imperiously powdery parfum changed
May 23, 2019
Collected Poems By Marius Kociejowski Carcanet, 99pp, £12.95/$18.99 The literary travelogue – with elements of history, anthropology, personal experience and quest – is a difficult genre. In the absence of conventional plot, the challenge is to create a forward momentum, something that Bruce Chatwin, say, or WG Sebald were notably skilled at doing. Marius Kociejowski,
May 09, 2019
In May 2015, some 200 members of PEN America, a respected literary organisation to which many writers belong, decided not to present the survivors of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris with a newly established Freedom of Expression Courage Award. While not everyone admired the satirical French magazine’s crude cartoons and mockery of aspects of
January 17, 2019
Fellini’s Eternal Rome By Alessandro Carrera Bloomsbury, 186pp, £65/$80 No film conjured so memorably the flashbulb glitz and moral darkness of Italy’s post-war “economic miracle” as Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. A box-office triumph in 1960, it launched Marcello Mastroianni as the world-weary matinee idol, and Anita Ekberg as a Swedish diva-in-furs. Beneath the roseate
November 22, 2018
The Letters of Sylvia Plath: Volume II Edited by Peter Steinberg and Karen Krull, Faber and Faber, 1,025pp, £35/$35 Since her suicide in the winter of early 1963, Sylvia Plath has been squabbled over by feminists who claim her as a martyr to their cause, literary critics who see her as one of the most
November 01, 2018
Soho in the Eighties by Christopher Howse, bloomsbury, 266pp, £20 Soho in the 1970s, with its strip joints and steamed-up caffs, was an exciting place for a teenager to explore. I used to play truant there from my school south of the river. The sex industry was then at its peak as the vice barons