Z e t e o
Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning
walcott

In his collection of essays, What the Twilight Says, Nobel prize-winning poet Derek Walcott discusses, among other things, fellow writers of the Caribbean, including the Marxist historian CLR James. In his short piece on James, Walcott explores the seeming contradiction between the writer’s unrelenting combat against Empire and the racism it engendered, and his love […]

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kiss of the furqueen

Sometimes you read a story so beautiful it stays in your head for days, and you keep going back to it, trying to understand how it got such a hold on your imagination. Kiss of the Fur Queen is that kind of story. Tomson Highway’s heartbreaking semi-autobiographical novel is about two Cree Indian brothers, Champion […]

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flannobrienthe hard life

Just after St. Patrick’s Day is a good time to have a laugh reading Flann O’Brien, pseudonym of Brian O Nolan, one of the most satirical Irish writers ever. In the late 1930s and throughout the 40s, when there was nothing much to laugh about in the New Irish State, O Nolan kept up a […]

Harvest

In Harvest, Jim Crace explores what happens in an isolated feudal village when a trio of outsiders set up camp on the common land and attempt to claim squatters’ rights. The villagers destroy the intruders’ makeshift camp and remain silent when they are wrongly accused of setting fire to the Master’s stable. The severe punishment […]

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catch22

Although set on a US Air force base on a small island in the Mediterranean during World War Two, Catch-22 is a satirical attack on the workings of modern bureaucracy that is still relevant today. It points out very clearly, and with great accuracy, how organizational goals get diverted and perverted by the ferocious competition […]

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Categories: Catherine Vigier, ZiR | 1 Comment
amazon.combrokeback mountain

In a recent interview in The Paris Review, Annie Proulx said that she regretted writing Brokeback Mountain. She said she wished she’d never written the story, and that it had “just been the cause of hassle and problems and irritation since the film came out.” This was because of the way readers — especially male ones […]

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amnesianow

Amnesia begins with a hacker known as Angel. She releases a computer worm which opens the gates of CIA-sponsored prisons around the world. Many of these are in Australia. Some suspected terrorists manage to escape; others are shot by prison guards. Angel goes on the run. Her mother, a well-known actress, asks investigative journalist Felix […]

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B6xct0_IgAA_aR6HollandeCharlieHebdo

  With all France stunned and sickened by the assassinations at Charlie Hebdo magazine, the political establishment is scrambling to present the situation to its best advantage. A tweet from the French President at the Elysée Palace, reproduced in Vanity Fair, shows François Hollande on the phone. The subtitle says Obama expresses American solidarity. The […]

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FaithfullAmazonA1xHltkj8uL._SY355_

Sixties icon Marianne Faithfull, who now lives in Paris, did a great concert in Rouen a few weeks ago. I was intrigued by ‘Mother Wolf’, one of the songs she sang from her new album, Give My Love to London. Mother Wolf, a character taken from Kipling’s Jungle Book, is of harboring a cub that […]

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Categories: Catherine Vigier, ZiR | 1 Comment
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  For an unsentimental take on Christmas, and a view of not-so-loving, cat-and-mouse relationships between adults and children, I went back to Saul Bellow’s The Adventures of Augie March. In this scene the young Augie is in the Chicago department store where he has been hired as one of Santa’s helpers for the Christmas season: […]

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Iceagedrabble

With market analysts predicting that another London real estate bubble is about to burst, I turned to Margaret Drabble’s The Ice Age for a sardonic representation of the 1970s property crash in the UK and the people responsible for it. Drabble is excellent in her depiction of Anthony Keating, a Liberal Arts graduate who has […]

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A Syrian man holds lifeless body of his son, killed by Syrian Army, Aleppo, Syria, October 3, 2013, photo by Manu Brabo - AP

With market analysts predicting that another London real estate bubble is about to burst, I turned to Margaret Drabble’s The Ice Age for a sardonic representation of the 1970s property crash in the UK and the people responsible for it. Drabble is excellent in her depiction of Anthony Keating, a Liberal Arts graduate who has […]

ZiR

February 8, 2017

How does the slogan “man is a wolf to man” fit in with your later, somewhat hopeful image of camaraderie in the class struggle? I mean, if your starting assessment of human nature is correct, then doesn’t the class struggle actually come down to one group of savage beasts fighting another, the exploited class merely comprising those wolves with less opportunity to express their lupine ferocity? And don’t the exploiters no less than the exploited regularly turn against one another, so that besides the strife of classes, there is also the strife of each wolf against every other wolf? Wha...

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Beyoncé

With market analysts predicting that another London real estate bubble is about to burst, I turned to Margaret Drabble’s The Ice Age for a sardonic representation of the 1970s property crash in the UK and the people responsible for it. Drabble is excellent in her depiction of Anthony Keating, a Liberal Arts graduate who has […]

Article

December 13, 2016

Any doubts I may have had have been thoroughly quashed.

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Bakewell on Sartre: “Of course, he was monstrous. He was self-indulgent, demanding, bad-tempered. … I disagree with quite a lot in Sartre. But then there is the question of ‘character’—and Sartre is full of character. He bursts out on side sides with energy, peculiarity, generosity, and communicativeness.”

With market analysts predicting that another London real estate bubble is about to burst, I turned to Margaret Drabble’s The Ice Age for a sardonic representation of the 1970s property crash in the UK and the people responsible for it. Drabble is excellent in her depiction of Anthony Keating, a Liberal Arts graduate who has […]

Review

November 29, 2016

What a nice review ! I've read Bakewell and admire her courage and skill in mixing biography and philosophy in such an attractive way -- and I admire your skill in presenting the figures and themes of existentialism in an equally attractive way ! Mazel tov !

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