Alex Clark

Alex Clark is a freelance journalist who lives in London.

Yum-Yum Pickles: Claire Messud

Alex Clark, 6 June 2002

The recurring theme of a life’s compression or diminution is reflected in the deceptive miniaturism of the twin stories in The Hunters. Messud labours on her two inches of ivory – and the book can, at times, feel like a labour – to create a work that tests the possibilities of how much can be encoded in how little.

According to her British publishers, The Hunters was not...

Suffocation: Andrew Miller

Alex Clark, 18 October 2001

Flamboyant historical staging characterised Andrew Miller’s first two novels, Ingenious Pain and Casanova: his third makes use of a very different kind of theatricality. Here, in two discrete, barely overlapping stories – one of a dying woman attended by her sons, the other of an exiled Hungarian playwright tempted by a shameful memory into a last-ditch act of political redemption...

Composite Person: Pat Barker

Alex Clark, 24 May 2001

In the Regeneration trilogy, Pat Barker distilled the trauma and drama of the First World War into a series of minutely observed pairings between the neurologist William Rivers and his severely shellshocked charges. The most famous of them is Siegfried Sassoon, who was sent to a psychiatric hospital after he issued a public declaration against the continuation of the war. But much more...

No Dancing, No Music: New Puritans

Alex Clark, 2 November 2000

The New Puritans are not, one of their founder members assures us, ‘a religious movement’. Phew. It is unwise for novelists to become too involved in formulating creeds, and very few of them are good at evangelism, mass worship or group suicides. We don’t look to writers to tell us how to behave or what to believe. New Puritanism is not a religion, then, but it might,...

Tell us about it: Julian Barnes

Alex Clark, 24 August 2000

Ironies accumulate in the work of Julian Barnes, like – well, perhaps we’d better not attempt to say what they are like, since Love, etc contains several admonitions on the dangers of metaphor, of likening one thing to another, and on the possible outcome of paying too much attention to what is not real. Most of the warnings fall from the mouth of the doggedly pragmatic Stuart, whose rough ride in the world of marriage, love and romance has sent him scurrying towards all that is solid, material, practical. ‘I’ve come to some conclusions in my time,’ he tells us:’‘

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