Happy Birthday Philip

Philip Roth b. 19 March 1933 Though he said he’d pull the pin after his last book, Nemesis (2010), we hope that he’s tinkering with a posthumous classic (preferably something much better than The Original of Laura). We doubt it could be any funnier – or filthier – than Sabbath’s Theater (1995), that riotous and dark meeting of Mickey Sabbath (Lear/Fool) and Drenka Balich (Cordelia/Goneril/Regan), with her penchant for playing Mrs Malaprop. Roth is the grubbiest writer in centuries, a great descendant of Catullus, Rabelais and Geoffrey Chaucer.  In a thoughtful piece, James Wood comments that “Misogyny always flickers in [Roth’s]…

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Resurrection by Count Leo Tolstoy

Federation Square book sale 2016. Image courtesy of Nick-D.

When in Melbourne, we of TVC attend the Saturday morning book sale at Federation Square.  There, in the dank central court, eccentric sellers of very good used books sell classics and books which have just appeared in the shops.  Amid these booksellers who know their stuff and their customers, lurk a few grim self-published authors who sell nothing and look on sadly while pretending to work on their next badly-illustrated but politically-correct slim volume for children. One of the sellers of very good books is a handsome, red-haired Russian woman of whom we at TVC are terrified. (Let us call this stern and tenacious…

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"Hey, little fella"

(By Johann Wolfgang Goethe) (Part I, 1808, Part II, 1832) While a student, Goethe conceived his epic poem. (The story itself is an old one, first dramatized at length by Marlowe in 1593.)  He tinkered with it through the 1770s, put out a fragment in 1790, published the first part (honouring Schiller) and then put it down – for 17 years.  He eventually finished Part II (commonly recognised as the most daring portion – it is remarkably “out there”, quite heretical in fact) and then sealed it for posterity.  It has been estimated that you’d need a day (i.e. 24…

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The Clown (by Heinrich Böll) – GUEST REVIEW

 WE AT TVC ARE MOST PLEASED TO PRESENT A REVIEW BY OUR SENSATIONAL GUEST REVIEWER LYNETTE. Heinrich Böll’s The Clown jumped off the library shelf with its clown face cover. It was in synch with the contemporary news reports of creepy clowns that had been doing the rounds of e media. Having never heard of the writer, I was surprised at how popular and prolific he was as a novelist and poet, being well known as a best seller largely on the back of this 1963 classic, set in post-war Germany. Who other than children think that clowns are funny?…

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Dr Thorne by Anthony Trollope

Billy Preston says...

Spoiler alert – not that it really matters.  The plot is an old one: boy meets girl, there is an insurmountable obstacle to their love, the obstacle is mounted by an incredible last minute stroke of luck. Ta dah!

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