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  • Power and Irony: The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
    concerto a reference to Sukliko Stalin s favourite song but Rostropovich had played straight over it without noticing it Of course the idea of irony is invaluable to the biographer When truth speaking became impossible Barnes writes elsewhere it had to be disguised And so truth s disguise was irony Because the tyrant s ear is rarely tuned to hear it Barnes goes on to describe a letter Shostakovich wrote to Stalin the day after he agreed to attend the Congress for World Peace in New York The note sits uncomfortably with our understanding of Shostakovich as a private power hater He asks that Stalin accept his heartfelt gratitude for the conversation that took place yesterday I cannot but be proud of the confidence that has been placed in me The implication Barnes leads us to conclude is that the words are not intended sincerely There is a sheen of irony here imperceptible to the eye of the Great Leader and Helmsman The doubleness in this letter fits with Barnes s portrait of the composer but he doesn t pretend that this is the only way to read this rather disquieting document The letter he writes would disappear into some file in some archive It might stay there for decades perhaps generations perhaps 200 000 000 000 years and then someone might read it and wonder what exactly if anything he had meant by it The someone in this instance is Julian Barnes This is the most explicit reference to his creative role in this fictionalised biography but his presence manifests itself in other ways Admirers of the spare Barnesian sentence will find much to enjoy in The Noise of Time The usual rhythms are here arresting at first but a little wearing after a while Motifs abound From the number 200 000 000 000 of strange significance to Shostakovich he once wrote to a friend explaining that Heaven on Earth will come in 200 000 000 000 years to the noise of time a synesthetic idea borrowed from the essayist Osip Mandelstam another victim of Stalin s regime While Barnes s Dmitri is vivid and the arc of his demise well documented the secondary characters his family his friends even Stalin himself are frustratingly flat nothing more than a trait here and a trait there to employ Barnes s own description of his minor characters in his Paris Review interview in 2000 For this reason the narrative occasionally feels as though it is in thrall to Barnes s prose We inherit the composer s curious numbness to his fate and as a result the novel s emotional impact comes not from the events of Shostakovich s life despite being events of great sadness and sacrifice but from the strength of Barnes s sentences This is where Barnes parts ways with the likes of Teffi who revelled in the power of the carefully formed plot And this is perhaps where many readers part ways with Barnes But those in pursuit

    Original URL path: http://www.litro.co.uk/2016/02/the-noise-of-time-by-julian-barnes/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Xenobe Purvis, Author at Litro Magazine
    idealistic theatre troupe that travels to the Balkans in 1994 His discussion with Ned Beauman shed light on what it means to be funny Read more Litro Arts Culture The Problem of Past Attitudes Pop Up Opera s Die Entführung aus dem Serail by Xenobe Purvis Mozart s Die Entführung aus dem Serail relies on Turkish stereotypes presenting problems for modern audiences How do the innovative touring company Pop Up Opera approach this Read more Litro Arts Culture Sweeney Todd and the Relocation of the Fourth Wall by Xenobe Purvis A pop up version of Sweeney Todd at Harrington s Pie an Mash Shop is completely unsettling and completely brilliant But should we be starting to worry about the trend for experiential theatre Read more Litro Arts Culture Theatre of Images A Breakfast of Eels at the Print Room by Xenobe Purvis Robert Holman s new play has at its core five disparate but simple images In a climate where theatre so often aspires to the cinematic this is truly refreshing writes Xenobe Purvis Read more Litro Arts Culture Infinite Absurdities Six Characters in Search of an Author at the Barbican by Xenobe Purvis Pirandello s daring play prompted walk outs when it premiered in 1921 Almost a hundred years later as Paris s Théâtre de la Ville brings their production to the Barbican this is equally true Read more Litro Arts Culture The Rest Is Ritual Dara at the National Theatre by Xenobe Purvis In the popular mind the creation of the Taj Mahal is equated with a single act of love Dara Tanya Ronder s impressive adaptation of a Shahid Nadeem play restores the context Read more Litro Arts Culture Wonder in Bloomsbury Robert Irwin in conversation with Marina Warner at the London Review Bookshop by Xenobe Purvis In November the oldest known collection of Arabic short stories Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange was finally released in English translation Xenobe Purvis sees Robert Irwin authority on Arabic literature talk to Marina Warner about the collection and the nature of wonder itself Read more Litro Arts Culture Representing The Poor How Behind The Beautiful Forevers Marks A Refreshing Approach To Poverty by Xenobe Purvis At the time that Behind The Beautiful Forevers about the slum dwellers of Mumbai opened at the National Theatre Band Aid faced criticism for their ultra emotive portrayal of poverty What appeals here while Geldof and company arouse disgust Read more Litro Arts Culture A Sweet Deceit Stink Foot at the Yard Theatre by Xenobe Purvis Director Jeff James has a unique take on Sophocles tragedy Philoctetes he stages it entirely in a pool of treacle Read more Litro Arts Culture Frieze Art Fair 2014 Day Four by Xenobe Purvis Saturday was the last day of the Frieze Art Fair Xenobe Purvis reflects on the wonder of the event Read more Litro Arts Culture Frieze Art Fair 2014 Day Three by Xenobe Purvis Today Xenobe Purvis wanders off site to Frieze

    Original URL path: http://www.litro.co.uk/author/xenobe/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Revisiting The Goldfinch
    in this more than 800 paged behemoth Still Theo has a lot to muse on After his mother s death the novel follows two storylines Theo s dislocated adolescence dealing with the consequences of his mother dying and the life of the stolen painting Theo is first hosted by The Barbour s an uppity Manhattan family with problems of their own before his absent alcoholic father returns and moves Theo to Las Vegas to live with him and his girlfriend Xandra It s there that Theo meets Boris his best and only friend in Vegas who introduces him to a world of misbehavior and drugs Though Boris might seem like the fun wild counter character to Theo s innocent decent personality Tartt is careful to show that Theo s new delinquency is not a direct cause of his mother s death nor his new friendship with Boris but a unmooring of flaws that Theo already had The one thing tying it all together is the painting that Theo holds on to for years unsure of how to return it and even more unsure if he wants to More than just an interesting action packed story line surprising for a more than 800 page novel The Goldfinch finds its strength in the high society philosophy of Dickensian characters Though ripe with clichéd writing throughout the novel Tartt avoids that in her conclusion and ends the novel poignantly with an over arching look at history art and humanity s constant search for beauty Theo s semi foster parent and later business partner Hobie says If a painting really works down in your heart and changes the way you see and think and feel you don t think oh I love this picture because it s universal I love this painting because it speaks to all mankind That s not the reason anyone loves a piece of art It s a secret whisper from an alleyway Psst you Hey kid Yes you In The Goldfinch Tartt teaches us that good art makes us feel but great art shows us that we re not alone That art is about our constant quest for the tiniest clue that shows us we re not alone It s about the art around us that somehow reaches us that saves us that says to us Psst you Hey kid Yes you About Gina Mussio Gina Mussio is an American writer living in Milan Italy Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Matador Network Transitions Abroad The Culture Trip Verge Magazine and Columbus Weddings among others When not writing she s likely reading running or researching new foods and recipes Find more of her writing at her website Mail Web Twitter Facebook LinkedIn More Posts 1 Comments comments Prev Litro 147 The Space issue Next Power and Irony The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes Related Posts Puddle London Comics Get Technical Germany and the Burden of History Litro TV Recent Posts Bringing Up Baby In the Night

    Original URL path: http://www.litro.co.uk/2016/01/book-review-the-goldfinch/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Gina Mussio, Author at Litro Magazine
    Advertising enquiries 44 0 20 3371 9971 Email Sales Magazine Editorial editor litro co uk All Online Editorial online litro co uk Book Reviews Author Interviews reviews litro co uk Film Arts Editorial arts litro co uk Litro Lab Podcast litrolab litro co uk LitroTV litrotv litro co uk Litro Listings listings litro co uk Subscribe Stockists Submissions Advertising Our Team About Litro Litro Magazine is a free short stories and creative arts magazine in print and online Providing a place for readers writers and the broader creative community to discuss various aspects of literature arts and culture through features reviews non themed fiction interviews columns and more Perfect reading for those with busy lives When the first issue of Litro was published in April 2005 the main free paper for commuters and city dwellers was the morning Metro Since then many tabloid style free sheets have joined the field like the Metro these can be skim read and quickly discarded Litro is different our central aim has always been to provide commuters and city dwellers with an inspiring thought provoking alternative that takes you places you don t normally think about when travelling around the city We believe literary

    Original URL path: http://www.litro.co.uk/author/gina/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Litro #147: The Space issue
    Gate Theatre True Love in Los Angeles A R BY ANY OTHER NAME The Echo Travelling in Fiji The Litro Blog View Archive 11th February 2016 Litro 149 The Love issue Letter from the Editor By Eric Akoto Love we spend our lives craving it in one form or another searching for it and talking about it Its meaning is felt more than it is clearly expressed Some call it the greatest virtue Continue reading 9th December 2015 Litro 148 The Going Home issue Letter from the Editor By Eric Akoto This month in Litro 148 we explore the notion of what Going Home means to us Is it a familiar physical space A refuge A feeling A state of mind Or is home actually to be found in another human being maybe your partner your parents How do you know when you have found it Continue reading Contact Us General 44 0 20 3371 9971 info litro co uk Sales Advertising enquiries 44 0 20 3371 9971 Email Sales Magazine Editorial editor litro co uk All Online Editorial online litro co uk Book Reviews Author Interviews reviews litro co uk Film Arts Editorial arts litro co uk Litro Lab Podcast litrolab litro co uk LitroTV litrotv litro co uk Litro Listings listings litro co uk Subscribe Stockists Submissions Advertising Our Team About Litro Litro Magazine is a free short stories and creative arts magazine in print and online Providing a place for readers writers and the broader creative community to discuss various aspects of literature arts and culture through features reviews non themed fiction interviews columns and more Perfect reading for those with busy lives When the first issue of Litro was published in April 2005 the main free paper for commuters and city dwellers was the morning Metro

    Original URL path: http://www.litro.co.uk/2015/11/litro-147-the-space-issue/ (2016-02-15)
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  • 9/11 Fiction and the Genie in the Bottle: On Rushdie's Latest
    seems somewhat reductive if not downright contradictory Surely the complete repression of our reptilian urges would on the contrary lead to more intensely active compensatory dreams The eutopian ending therefore seems flawed both as a potentially perfect world and in its authorial conception since its does away with the Freudian notion of the return of the repressed and the long established role of sublimation in the creative process Rushdie s novel has been both praised and slighted in early reviews for its fanciful fling with modern superheroes and folklore It s true that there are times when the novel flirts with Avengers style aesthetics and others when it adds to the Avengers cast to such an extent that it feels like you are reading the novelistic equivalent of an Erró collage Alongside these is Rushdie s amusing marshalling of surreal absurdist writers and visual artists It s not hard to spot the references to Ionesco Beckett Magritte Gogol and Buñuel in the following evocation In a French town the citizenry began turning into rhinoceroses Old Irish people took to living in rubbish bins A Belgian man looked into a mirror and saw the back of his head reflected in it A Russian official lost his nose and then saw it walking around St Petersburg by itself A narrow cloud sliced across a full moon and a Spanish lady gazing up at it felt a sharp pain as a razor blade cut her eyeball in half The novel extends this juxtaposing technique to its vision of humanity As Geronimo puts it We are a little bit of everything right Jewslim Christians Patchwork types In the end Rushdie s tongue in cheek humour and vitality make the novel a stimulating read regardless of whether or not you are drawn to kaleidoscopic intertextuality and comic strips If anything the exciting imaginative maelstrom that Rushdie stirs up in this novel is ultimately a bit tame His narrator reminds us more than once that the jinn characters he focuses on are highly sexed beings as well as tricksters and metamorphs It s a pity we re not given more samples of their surreal prowess as this would have interestingly countered the idea that violence is the main source of creativity Compared to Angela Carter s The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr Hoffmann and J G Ballard s The Unlimited Dream Company the sexual imagination at work in Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights seems just a little too genteel Salman Rushdie s Two Years Eight Months Twenty Eight Nights is published by Jonathan Cape for 18 99 About Erik Martiny Erik Martiny teaches literature art and translation to students at Henri IV in Paris He writes mostly about art literature and fashion His articles can be found in The Times Literary Supplement The London Magazine Aesthetica Magazine Whitewall Magazine Fjords Review World Literature Today and a number of others Mail More Posts 4 Comments comments Prev A Writer s Journey From A Blogger

    Original URL path: http://www.litro.co.uk/2015/11/911-fiction-and-the-genie-in-the-bottle-on-rushdies-latest/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Erik Martiny, Author at Litro Magazine
    Martiny reviews a Paris production of his one of a rare experimental prequel Read more Litro Arts Culture The Paris Review Lars Norén s Demons at Le Lucernaire by Erik Martiny In a new feature The Paris Review critic Erik Martiny reviews productions from Paris Here he reviews a flagship production of Demons by Lars Norén considered Sweden s greatest living playwright Read more Erik Martiny The author has 4 posts published in Litro Magazine Erik Martiny teaches literature art and translation to students at Henri IV in Paris He writes mostly about art literature and fashion His articles can be found in The Times Literary Supplement The London Magazine Aesthetica Magazine Whitewall Magazine Fjords Review World Literature Today and a number of others Website Twitter Facebook Contact Us General 44 0 20 3371 9971 info litro co uk Sales Advertising enquiries 44 0 20 3371 9971 Email Sales Magazine Editorial editor litro co uk All Online Editorial online litro co uk Book Reviews Author Interviews reviews litro co uk Film Arts Editorial arts litro co uk Litro Lab Podcast litrolab litro co uk LitroTV litrotv litro co uk Litro Listings listings litro co uk Subscribe Stockists Submissions Advertising Our Team About Litro Litro Magazine is a free short stories and creative arts magazine in print and online Providing a place for readers writers and the broader creative community to discuss various aspects of literature arts and culture through features reviews non themed fiction interviews columns and more Perfect reading for those with busy lives When the first issue of Litro was published in April 2005 the main free paper for commuters and city dwellers was the morning Metro Since then many tabloid style free sheets have joined the field like the Metro these can be skim read and quickly

    Original URL path: http://www.litro.co.uk/author/martiny/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Just Browsing: An Ode to the Second-Hand Bookshop
    of the British Isles six editions of which were published in the 1980s and 90s both customers and booksellers were shown no mercy Here are some of Drif s pithy descriptions Primarily prints and bindings Red braces welcome Extremely esoteric and that s just the customers Small keen on comics and romantic poetry Almost a description of the owner Drif devised his own abbreviations and terminology FARTS Follows you around recommending the stock A Samuel Beckett Special is a second hand bookshop where it is not always possible to tell what is going on the windows often have just two or three drearily strange books in them The other day I was looking at what was on offer at the occasional bookstall on Oxford Road in Manchester opposite Abdul s splendid kebab shop A chubby man edged towards me selected a book at random and showed it to me Look he said this is the book for you The book was How to Write a Successful Business Plan He laughed It is just my humour he said as if to reassure me it s just my humour But I was not offended merely confused And perhaps a little frightened He went away and tried his humour on a pale young woman pulling out another book Leatherwork Techniques She certainly looked concerned The anticipatory thrill of entering a bookshop is similar to the buzz I used to get on visiting a pub Every pub offers familiarity and comfort the cheery warmth captured in Derrick Harris s engraving You know the routine you know the faces you certainly know there s a hangover coming Yet there is still a sense of excitement of starting from scratch where will the booze take you this time to the gutter or the casino what will you say or do A bookshop has a similar if less toxic magic Once inside the shop there is that rush a lightheaded moment of acclimatisation as your senses take it all in Where to start Slackly organised shelves are the bookworm s enemy The occasional alphabetical mishap is acceptable finding a Graham Greene before an Alasdair Gray acts as a teaser to the bibliophile encouraging attentiveness and warning against complacency But if the shop is too messy then the bookworm becomes demoralised The hunt becomes a game of chance a crude lucky dip Frustration and fatigue set in A shop I found by chance in North Wales was so cluttered with stalagmites of books that it was perilous to negotiate There were piles and heaps of glossy hardbacks toppling boxes of Penguins and Bantams tables groaning with pamphlets paperbacks dictionaries big glossy sporting biographies The shelves were equally disordered A run of novels would suddenly give way to a history of Shropshire or Wogan on Wogan and then veer off into gardening and back to novels again Investigating a stack of 1960s hardbacks I stooped to lever one out steady now turned it over and the shopkeeper who I hadn t noticed before barked No not them They re not for sale I ve not done them yet By not done them yet I presumed she meant she hadn t made a note of them in her tatty pad Perhaps feeling guilty she parted the curtains of her hair and tried to explain herself I need to sort all this She waved at the room as if it were a bus to be stopped I m in the middle of I m organising it you see I don t want things to fall over You might hurt yourself A bespectacled man in a grey anorak entered the shop and enquired about a book in the window He tried to bargain her down from twelve to ten pounds She refused and the man left empty handed She was mean as well as disorganised I decided not to buy anything A history of surgery had looked promising but its contents were tamely academic There might have been treasures in that shop but the terrain was too rough for me As I left I wished her good luck but she didn t hear she was crossing something out in her jotter Bookshops are pubs for the mind Pubs and bookshops I look for these first when I m in a strange town Pubs are less important to me now but their sad beauty remains Pubs and second hand bookshops both are disappearing from our towns and suburbs When rumours of the internet began to reach me in the 1990s I delighted in being a Luddite I was still getting to grips with the magic of compact discs My attitude was phony and did not last long A friend mentioned that he had read Nabokov s excellent book on Gogol I had been hunting for that book for years Where did you get it I asked Online he said I felt cheated I had put in the hours searching and asking but he had won it with a click and a card I grew up in a household mostly without books Mum had her nursing manuals and Catholic missals Dad had his A Zs Those alone could keep me occupied for hours I pored over the London A Z with religious intensity The medical books filled me with delight and horror The catechisms were less enticing although they contained some gaudy pictures of tortured saints Books served a function and were kept hidden in cupboards along with blankets bandages and dad s cans of beer There were no bookshelves I went to the library every week and borrowed books about football the Second World War ghosts flags trains Very rarely did I dabble in the soft fancies of fiction I was about fourteen when I read Animal Farm in one sitting on a Saturday afternoon I was incredibly moved by the death of Boxer Later there were books I had to read for school such as The Go Between I like Hartley better

    Original URL path: http://www.litro.co.uk/2015/10/just-browsing-an-ode-to-the-second-hand-bookshop/ (2016-02-15)
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