Monthly Archives: December 2011

“Smiley’s People” by John le Carré

Developing to some kind of resolution the story of Smiley and Karla, subtly making clearer the binary connections between them. P450 tries to make this explicit: Karla’s being brought down by Smiley’s defining compassion; Smiley’s being somehow damaged by his … Continue reading

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“Hans Keller and Internment” by Alison Garnham

Garnham’s book ‘tells’ (see below for more on how) the story of the Austrian émigré musician, writer and broadcaster Hans Keller from his beginnings in pre-War Vienna to his bursting onto the British musical scene in the late 40s. She … Continue reading

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“The Last Philosophy” by Don Cupitt

A masterpiece in atheistic religion. Cupitt steers a path between realism and non-realism by on the one hand arguing that the three ’worlds’ of external reality, inner consciousness, and language are all made of the same stuff, all language-formed (or … Continue reading

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“We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver, and film

The three of us sat in silence at the end and had to have a beer before going home. I’d read the book, another had read its beginning, the other none. Two significant changes: removing the epistolary form of letters … Continue reading

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“Tinker Sailor Soldier Spy” by John le Carré

As the later “A Most Wanted Man”, a slow-burning ascent, but different, and superior, in its significantly bathetic climax. There’s no real surprise when we see the traitor with Polyakov (a point made tellingly in the recent film), and the … Continue reading

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“On the Road” by Jack Kerouac

A sustained poem, genuinely great in that it combines a modern(ist) absence of overall narrative, and a concentration on the modern, young, world, with a profound literary resonance both explicit (references to e.g. Le Grand Meaulnes & Proust), and implicit, … Continue reading

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Plato’s “Euthyphro”

The best thing I’ve read for ages. Fabulously tight, funny, profound, and challenging. I’d never noticed how Plato sets the (in itself important) argument about holiness in the context of Socrates’ forthcoming trial, and sets up Euthyphro and his father … Continue reading

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