Auto de Fe (Elias Canetti)

Nobel Laureate Elias Canetti’s 1935 novel Auto de fé was not translated to English until 1946.  A surreal representation of pre-World War 2 Mitteleuropa (specifically Germany) it is an intense and disturbing stew of poverty, insanity and brutality.  Dr Peter Kien, who is (at least in his opinion), the world’s greatest Sinologist, leads a strictly structured, hermetic life of study and paper-writing. He subsists on an inheritance, treating offers of professorial chairs with contempt. Although his housekeeper Therese has not shown the slightest interest in reading during the eight years she has lived in his apartment, Kien is enchanted when she…

Continue Reading →

Australian Classic Fiction

The Varnished Culture thinks some Australian novels are worthy of the whole world: An Imaginary Life (by David Malouf) The Book Thief (by Markus Zusak) Capricornia (by Xavier Herbert) The First Man in Rome (by Colleen McCullough) Gould’s Book of Fish (by Richard Flanagan) The Harp in the South (by Ruth Park) The Magic Pudding (by Norman Lindsay) The Man Who Loved Children (by Christina Stead) The Merry-go-round in the Sea (by Randolph Stow) My Brilliant Career (by Miles Franklin) My Brother Jack (by George Johnston) Oscar and Lucinda (by Peter Carey) Picnic at Hanging Rock (by Joan Lindsay) Power Without Glory…

Continue Reading →

The Art of Stalking

January 15, 2020 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | ART, FILM, MUSIC, WRITING & LITERATURE |

The New South Wales Police Force offers this regarding the crime of Stalking: Stalking is a crime…and…includes: ‘the following of a person about or the watching or frequenting of the vicinity of, or an approach to a person’s place of residence, business or work or any place that a person frequents for the purposes of any social or leisure activity’.  Stalking involves a persistent course of conduct or actions by a person which are intended to maintain contact with or exercise power and control over another person. These actions cause distress, loss of control, fear or harassment to another person and occur…

Continue Reading →

The Unmaking of a Mayor

All smiles; Candidates Beame, Buckley & Lindsay

By William F. Buckley, Jr (1966) New York may well be the greatest city in the world. The Varnished Culture loves it, as we have said again and again and again and again. But we are unlikely to have loved it in 1965. Then, as erudite Tory gadfly Buckley pungently puts it in his floridly verbose and fascinating account of that year’s Mayoral election, “You can’t walk from one end of New York to the other without a good chance of losing your wallet, your maidenhead, or your life; or without being told that white people are bigoted, that Negroes…

Continue Reading →

Blonde (Joyce Carol Oates)

November 25, 2019 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WRITING & LITERATURE |

(published 2000) We at TVC have never been charmed by the pasty, lumpy creature ‘Marilyn Monroe’; the bundle of affected moues, fleshy wiggles and whispers that the Frankenstein Studio reportedly stewed-up from some bits of lovelorn redneck Norma Jean and handfuls of sexpot glamour queen Marilyn.  Other than her almost-acting in “The Misfits” and her quite realistic impression of a starlet in “All About Eve“, her performances are tedious repetitions of wide-eyed Marilyn cooing and writhing her way through a sea of leering men. So, while we have little faith in Marilyn’s ability ever to inspire, we have much in…

Continue Reading →

© Copyright 2014 The Varnished Culture All Rights Reserved. TVC Disclaimer. Site by KWD&D.