When Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, and Hunter S Thompson were in their prime a type of writing flourished that called to account the complacencies and evasions of public life. Since the Reagan years, it seems, it’s been bedtime for gonzo. But now Ben Fountain renews our hope.
More women than you might think have seen fit over the centuries to wander out, in good thick skirts or other climate-appropriate attire in the most far-flung of places. Most of the rest of us have preferred to stay at home, cosy and safe, reading of the savage beasts and strange peoples they encountered.
The young Eric Hobsbawm was intoxicated by the ‘stern discipline’ the revolutionary organisation demanded of its adherents. ‘Ground yourself in Leninism,’ he admonished himself in his diary. The communist militant had to be ‘totally unscrupulous and outrageously flexible’.
The elderly illustrator Daniele is called from his work on a deluxe edition of a Henry James ghost story to go to his childhood home in Naples and temporarily babysit his four-year-old grandson, the only flesh-and-blood creature that can haunt with the same relentless audacity as an actual ghost.
Far-right parties in formerly communist Europe tend to both inflate their opponents’ links with the communist period and their own links with the historical political blocs of the pre-communist period. It is a tendentious game whose odds are always stacked in favour of the right.
In the rural Ireland of the 1920s memories of the War of Independence and Civil War are still strong. The Garda Síochána stands at the forefront of efforts to normalise life in a traumatised society, yet they too, both as individuals and as a force, have problems winning trust.
A new book argues that those who criticise the Good Friday Agreement for not creating a framework for dealing with the past or for not addressing the deep divide in the North, are missing the fundamental purpose of the accord, which was simply to deliver an end to violence.
We first meet the author when he is twenty-eight, an aspiring writer resigned to suffering a bout of depression every summer since his mother’s death nine years earlier. He is diagnosed as bipolar but is reluctant to accept this, a position in which he is encouraged by a therapist.