WE have become accustomed to hearing how prescient “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (1949) feels in today’s political climate. Others point out echoes of “Animal Farm” (1945) in modern political rhetoric. But one of George Orwell’s lesser-known works also enjoys renewed relevance: “Keep the Aspidistra Flying” (1936)-a novel he was thoroughly dissatisfied with-captures the financial bind in which many millennials find themselves.
Sinéad O’Connor, to use her own verb, has been “crazied.” We’ve seen it before, with Lauryn Hill, Michael Jackson, Kanye West. The press turns on an outspoken artist and is joined by millions of willing minions on social media. The artist-sensitive, vulnerable, human, and, like most people on the planet, susceptible to mental illness-suffers, and suffers publicly.
If Richard Dawkins can’t understand why he was no-platformed, then maybe he’s not as smart as he thinks he is
On Thursday KPFA Radio in Berkeley, California, sent emails to hundreds of people with tickets to hear Richard Dawkins speak, explaining the event had been cancelled due to Dawkins’s “abusive… tweets and other comments on Islam”. Professor Dawkins responded by saying: “I am known as a frequent critic of Christianity and have never been de-platformed for that.
To see Nick Cave live is to see a rock star fulfill his true calling, transporting self and audience to the beyond.
White Tears, Hari Kunzru’s dark, phantasmagoric fifth novel, is about the cultural appropriation of black music.
I used to listen to Wham! in secret. It was 1984 and I was nine. My school was in a white and mostly working-class village in Lancashire. I knew only one other Wham! fan and, though it’s been thirty years since we last met, he was the first person I contacted after I heard George […]
Do they have no shame? On 15 August, Donald Trump stood in the lobby of his eponymous tower in New York and heaped praise on racists, bigots and fascists. There were, Trump averred, “very fine people” among the group of neo-Nazi marchers who had spent the previous Friday in Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting “Jews will not replace us.”
Twelve days after the election of Donald Trump, I went to see Yusuf/ Cat Stevens in Soho, London. I suspect I was not alone in wondering what he would have to say about a President-elect who has called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad won the National Book Award on Wednesday night. In his acceptance speech he told us, “We’re happy in here; outside is the blasted hellhole wasteland of Trumpland. Be kind to everybody. Make art and fight the power.” Not only was this apt for the evening, but it also describes the…
I saw Leonard Cohen in September 2012 at the Waldbühne in Berlin, a Nazi-built amphitheater only two years younger than himself. He was 78 at the time, and he sang for three and a half hours, including, shortly before the end, “First we Take Manhattan,” at which the crowd devotedly shouted the next line, “Then we take Berlin!”
While President elect Donald Trump was giving his victory speech, my attention fell a few inches to his right onto the small, lily-white boy in a dark suit and silver tie. He, the 10 year old Barron Trump, son of Donald and Melania, was fidgeting, swaying, and seemed awkward, self-conscious, as though he would rather be anywhere than on that stage in front of the entire world.
This year, literature’s biggest prizes for fiction, the Pulitzer and the Booker, went to novels by American writers of color : Viet Nguyen’s sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others.”
Rajeev Balasubramanyam is an award-winning novelist with a PhD in black and Asian British literature. His latest book is called “Starstruck.” He is on Twitter at @Rajeevbalasu. Every year I root for Ngugi wa Thiong’o to win the Nobel Prize for literature. The Kenyan writer has been a favorite to win for years.
1 Cultivate social anxiety and some sort of an addiction. This will prevent you from getting a job. #2 Scorn the work of other writers, preferably anonymously on the Internet. It makes you feel strong and powerful. #3 Do not waste time ‘improving self-esteem’. You are a bad person.
A few years ago, NewSouth Books provoked controversy by issuing an edition of Huckleberry Finn with the N-word (which appears more than 200 times in the novel) altered to ‘slave’. Who would be bowdlerised next? Conrad? Kipling? No one seemed to think of P.G. Wodehouse and yet, rereading Thank You, Jeeves (1934) a few days […]
Three-quarters of the way through Brett Easton Ellis’s “American Psycho,” a detective visits Patrick Bateman’s office on Wall Street to inquire about a missing banker. Bateman, who has already told us how he murdered this man, does his best to remain calm.
by Rajeev Balasubramanyam Chris Rock did it. He used the ‘R-word’. ‘Here’s the real question,’ he said on Oscar night. ‘The real question everybody wants to know…: Is Hollywood racist? Is Hollywood racist?’ He said it twice. And then he answered it. ‘You’re damn right Hollywood is racist.
The modern prose novel emerged in the late 18th century as a vehicle for the articulation of national identity. In Europe, the novel’s popularitymarked the rapidly diminishing importance of the old transnational orders of religion, empire and aristocracy vis-à-vis the new dominance of the nation state.