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Whose Bodies?

Elizabeth Lowry: ‘Tinkers’, 23 September 2010

by Paul Harding.
Heinemann, 191 pp., £12.99, July 2010, 978 0 434 02084 3
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... George Crosby, the hero of Paul Harding’s Pulitzer Prize-winning first novel, Tinkers, has been laid out to die on a rented hospital bed in his living-room, surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren. He is 80, a retired teacher and clock repairer, and is suffering from cancer and renal failure. In the last week of his life he begins to hallucinate about his childhood in rural Maine ...

Ain’t worth balls on a ewe

Blake Morrison: ‘This Other Eden’, 14 December 2023

This Other Eden 
by Paul Harding.
Hutchinson Heinemann, 221 pp., £16.99, February 2023, 978 1 5291 5254 8
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... The success​ of Paul Harding’s first novel, Tinkers (2009), is the kind of good luck story worth passing on to any dispirited author. When Cold Water Flat, the band he drummed with in the 1990s, broke up after touring the US and Europe, he studied creative writing at the University of Iowa, under the tutelage of (among others) Marilynne Robinson ...

In Däräsge Maryam

Jeremy Harding: The East Wall of the Maqdas, 23 January 2014

... of heaven. Webe Hayla Maryam in procession. The crucifixion of St Peter; the beheadings of St Paul and St Matthew; the garrotting of St Mark. St Matthias being burned; the recognition of Gabra Krestos. The first council of Nicaea, with Arius squatting.PreviousNext Each wall of the maqdas measures about six metres by six metres. In the three blind windows ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: On commemoration, 6 March 2008

... discussion as to why the world is caught up in a ‘global rush to commemorate atrocities’, as Paul Williams puts it in Memorial Museums (Berg, £19.99). There is no doubting the evidence. A non-exhaustive list at the beginning of the book includes 24 museums, sites or artefacts marking atrocities, disasters and ‘crimes against humanity’, of which only ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: France’s role in Rwanda, 6 May 2004

... and Chirac need bother. Then reports came through from Kigali that the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, had used his commemorative speech to accuse France of complicity in the genocide, whereupon the French deputy foreign minister – no high-level delegations to Kigali, thank you – ended his visit ‘sooner than expected’. A minute’s silence is ...

At the V&A

Jeremy Harding: 50 Years of ‘Private Eye’, 15 December 2011

... was part of a conspiracy, he believed, to feed the nation ‘pus’ and ‘destroy our society’. Paul Foot, who’d left the magazine a few years earlier to write for Socialist Worker, had indeed edged his way back to Greek Street at the time of the case, to do odds and ends for Ingrams. International socialism notwithstanding, Goldsmith was wide of the ...

Prince and Pimp

Paul Foot, 1 January 1998

The Liar: The Fall of Jonathan Aitken 
by Luke Harding and David Leigh.
Penguin, 205 pp., £6.99, December 1997, 0 14 027290 9
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... made in British factories. The price in every case was far higher than the manufacturing cost. Harding et al quote some examples: ‘A Tornado fighter-bomber which cost Nato £20m was to be sold to the Saudis for closer to £35m … Each 2000 lb bomb that went on the planes was fitted with a sophisticated electronic fuse made by Thorn-EMI … a total of 26 ...

Hindsight Tickling

Christopher Tayler: Disappointing sequels, 21 October 2004

The Closed Circle 
by Jonathan Coe.
Viking, 433 pp., £17.99, September 2004, 0 670 89254 8
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... occurs’. His schoolfriends – Philip, a conscientious plodder; Doug, a worldly left-wing wit; Harding, an anarchic practical joker; and Steve, an athlete and the only black pupil – are more enterprising, as are their counterparts from the girls’ school over the road. Benjamin spends most of the novel mooning over the needy but beautiful Cicely and not ...

Do it in Gaelic

Jeremy Harding: Australia’s Boat-People, 26 September 2013

... must not prejudice their claim.) But Labor has never been far behind the Coalition. In the 1990s Paul Keating’s administration introduced mandatory detention for anyone entering Australia without a valid visa. In 2012, during Julia Gillard’s tenure, it emerged that the security services had ruled against the release of more than fifty asylum seekers on ...

At the Centre Pompidou

Jeremy Harding: Beat Generation, 8 September 2016

... of American Folk Music (1952) drift on the air in the first rooms; in the last, we can hear Paul Bowles’s recordings (1959-61) of traditional Moroccan musicians. Beaubourg’s trophy exhibit is Kerouac’s highway-scroll manuscript of On the Road, composed in 1951: at more than thirty metres, it runs most of the length of the second room, inviting ...

At Quai Branly

Jeremy Harding: Jacques Chirac’s museum, 4 January 2007

... resistance cell and the following year it was under assault. Two heads of department were shot. Paul Rivet, the founder of the museum, who’d helped set up the Institut d’ethnologie with Marcel Mauss and Lucien Lévy-Bruhl in the 1920s, was also active in the resistance. In 1942, he left for Colombia. Did anthropology become linked, in some mythical way ...

Rolling Back the Reformation

Eamon Duffy: Bloody Mary’s Church, 7 February 2008

... All that time he remained, despite the mounting hostility of his arch-enemy Cardinal Caraffa, Pope Paul IV, a ‘power in Rome’. And in the conclave which eventually elected Julius III, Pole was offered the papacy by acclamation on the night of 4 December 1549, and next day came within one vote of formal election. There is every reason to think that had he ...

The Groom Stripped Bare by His Suitor

Jeremy Harding: John Lennon, 4 January 2001

Lennon Remembers 
by Jann Wenner.
Verso, 151 pp., £20, October 2000, 1 85984 600 9
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... the same, of course, but in this case the dating was pretty precise. It was ten years since John, Paul, George and Ringo had recorded their first session together at the Akustik, a small studio in Hamburg (apparently a single 78 rpm copy of ‘Summertime’ still survives); and Lennon’s declaration that ‘the dream is over’ in ‘God’, track ten on ...

Mirror Images

Jenny Diski: Piers Morgan, 31 March 2005

The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade 
by Piers Morgan.
Ebury, 484 pp., £17.99, March 2005, 0 09 190506 0
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... taken seriously by Elton John, Princess Diana, George Michael, Anthea Turner, Richard Branson, Paul McCartney, Patsy Kensit, Ian Botham, Jordan, Mohammed al Fayed, Cherie Blair, Alastair Campbell, Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair. (If there are names in that list you haven’t heard of, don’t worry, none of them matters as much as they think they do.) At a ...

The Frighteners

Jeremy Harding, 20 March 1997

The Ends of the Earth 
by Robert Kaplan.
Macmillan, 476 pp., £10, January 1997, 0 333 64255 4
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... a xeroxed paper, datelined ‘Hackney, September 1995’ – not Kaplan territory. The author was Paul Richards, who works in the Department of Anthropology at University College London. Richards accused Kaplan of arguing ‘that there is no political problem worthy of note in Sierra Leone’ and the piece of being ‘poorly researched’. He took Kaplan to ...

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