The Light and The Dark (C P Snow)

"Can't we simply make them Welsh by statute?" "Who?" "The Jews."

(1947) Roy Calvert has a light, quick, graceful stride. He is over middle height, slightly built but strong, upright and slender, full of ease and grace. His eyes glint a clear transparent hazel yellow and his expression is mischievous and grave when it is not sad, grave, stricken and haunted by a wild melancholy. His voice is clear, light and reedy. His smile is intimate and kind, or it might  be demure and secretive*. His is a style of extreme elegance and ease, he hits a cricket ball with statuesque grace and measured power. He is young, gifted and high-spirited….

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The Aerodrome

February 17, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WRITING & LITERATURE |

(by Rex Warner) (1941) Prima facie, this is a poor book: clunkily written, slurpily edited, wildly uneven, as devoid of depth in characters or the forces moving them as any book can be. And yet, it has something; it tackles the great theme of the 20th Century, and beyond – totalitarian cohesion and ‘cleanliness’ vs the chaos and mud of ‘normal’ humanity.  And the dry, deadpan way in which high tragedy and low comedy are presented here seem in a screwy authentic way to mirror the keep-calm-and-carry-on fashion of the time in which it was written. Roy (i.e. Rex) is…

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Bohemian Rhapsody (by Lesley-Ann Jones)

“Bohemian Rhapsody.  The Definitive Biography of Freddie Mercury” (by Lesley-Anne Jones) (1997; recently re-issued) This biography (not to be confused with the 2018 film Bohemian Rhapsody – click here for our review) is a sympathetic look at the life of the Queen front-man, from his lonely boyhood as Farrokh Bulsara, diligent Parsee schoolboy at an Indian boarding school, to his lonely death at age 46 as Freddie Mercury, adored British rock star. Some of those from his Zoroastrian background do not see this as an upward trajectory – his cousin Diana said, “He gave up his family name.  He did not…

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Seiobo There Below (Laszlo Krasznahorkai)

Rublev's 'Troika"

Whereas Krasznahorkai’s  The Melancholy of Resistance  is a profound and hilarious whole, Seiobo There Below is a profound and melancholic collection of vignettes.  Each of the 17 short fiction pieces (numbered on the Contents page according to the Fibonacci sequence*) captures the inexpressible numinosity of artistic creation, the quality that lies just beyond our ken.  Krasznahorkai contemplates the ineffable in a heron’s stillness, the impossibility of comprehending the Acropolis, the ritualistic carving of a theatre mask, the never-resting practise of Noh, the magnificence of the Venus de Milo. A man’s insanity becomes manifest upon a viewing of Rublev’s Troika (or is it…

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The Righteous Mind

December 18, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE, Non-Fiction, POLITICS, RELIGION, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

'Resurrection of the Righteous and Coronation of the Virgin' by Francesco Bassano the Younger

(Or “Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion“) (written by Jonathon Haidt) (2012) Yes, TVC knows that our reviews are not up-to-date: this book was published in 2012 and it is now several years hence.  Note that we reviewed Indoctrinaire (1971) this year, as well as A Farewell to Arms (1929), and Those Barren Leaves (1925) for example. Why, we only got around to reviewing The Brothers Karamazov (1880) last year. So give us a break – especially since recent events across the world (particularly Tr(i)umphalism, Trump Derangement Syndrome, Brexit, the crisis in Syria, and the Yellow-Jacket revolt in France) have made…

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