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Christopher Fowler
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'The Passenger' by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz There's a big world of stories out there, and I'm drawn to expansive world imprints like Pushkin Press. I discovered the collected novels of Stefan Zweig at Pushkin, along with unfamiliar story collections from Gogol and Chekhov. Bringing together my twin obsessions, they also publish 'Walter Presents' novels from the branded international TV format…
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Christopher Fowler
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HHhH by Laurent Binet 'HHhH' is enlightening and occasionally infuriating, but retelling an oft-told story is never easy. Binet's Prix Goncourt winner concerns the legend of the London-trained parachutists who attempted the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague, 1942, the events leading to the confrontation, the ambush itself, which played out like an action film, and its horrific…
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Christopher Fowler
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In 1947 Anaïs Nin arrived at Black Mountain College, Eden Lake, North Carolina - this was years before her notorious diaries - and met the handsome 20 year-old writer James Leo Herlihy. The college was experimental (and sounds rather wonderful). Herlihy would go on to write 'Midnight Cowboy'. He and Nin were instantly fascinated by one another, not sexually but intellectually. Herlihy's circle of…
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Christopher Fowler
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The most enjoyable lockdown box-set binge I enjoyed this year was Deutschland '83, '86 and '89, the three season trilogy of the era-defining German drama that started in the UK on All4's 'Walter Presents' and has now moved to Sky. It's been pointed out that the Deutschland series has surface similarities to another show, The Americans. The latter - longer, more character-oriented - has more local…
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Christopher Fowler
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The world I grew up in is not the world that's out there now. Every year there's a competition among young BAME actors in America to perform the best monologues by August Wilson, whose ten-play '20th century' cycle is the gold standard by which black actors are judged. Although not well-known in the UK, his polemical plays contain powerful speeches grounded by authentic voices hitherto…
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Christopher Fowler
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It must unfold like a half-remembered legend When you're denied interactive activity with others and have no face-to-face conversations or see no new sights, how do you keep ideas fresh? Perhaps by looking into the London of the imagination, of China Miéville, Ben Aaronovitch, LaVie Tidar and Kim Newman. London is a springboard for myths. As I'm about to be even more tethered at home for the next…
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Christopher Fowler
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Rowland Emett was an inventor who found fame in the 1950s. He said, ' The first principle in science is to invent something nice to look at and then decide what it can do.' His fussy, whimsical automata were exhibited at the Festival of Britain and became hugely popular. He designed clocks and trams, trains and boats, was a fine cartoonist and creator of kinetic sculpture. Somehow his spindly…
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Christopher Fowler
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It seems extraordinary, but in all the time that Tim Goodman has been the voice of the Bryant & May audiobooks we've never talked about it, he and I. Now seemed a great time to chat a bit about his 'double career'. Christopher: You began in rep, Tim. Thinking about life on tour, how difficult was it to do different shows all the time? Do you think it's an important experience for actors? Tim: Rep…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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There are subjects I return to again and again for a final word. This is one of them. It started, as so many things do, with art. Magritte and Duchamp, Buñuel and Dali, 'Un Chien Andalou' and 'L'Age D'Or' and 'Dr Caligari'. Many critics wrote off Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech because of his unabashed commercialism, his bad-boy antics and his clown-prince behaviour. An easy…
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Christopher Fowler
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I had a complaint from a reader about the following story, which appeared in the e-collection 'Frightening'. She said it had kept her awake at night. I said that was the point of writing it. Happy Hallowe'en! The Baby The dingy Edwardian pub was called The Grand Duke, but there was nothing grand about the place now. Its windows were covered in peeling gig posters, but half of the bands advertised…
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