|Dimensions||216 × 138 × 13 mm|
As Fit as a Fish
Did you know that the Italians invented the fork, and the English named the Dolomites? That you can’t drink cappuccino after noon or buy coloured pasta in Italy without being instantly recognised as English?
This original guide to English-Italian stereotypes and prejudices – sometimes funny, sometimes serious – is an essential part of every European traveller’s luggage!
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Daring, funny, fierce and musical, Eva Salzman has in her new collection managed to combine a robust yet never unsubtle take on modern life and love. Addressing itself primarily to the muse and the blues, this ‘songbook’ is woven through with references to history and myth so that the personal is always balanced by an awareness of community to which she sings.
With two published collections to her credit and this remarkable recent compilation, Eva Salzman is one of the most accomplished poets working in Britain today. She is a New Yorker, but such is the universal catchment area of poetry now that her living and writing in Britain does not make her either an American or a British Poet, but simply a very good one.
The epigraph to the collection draws on St Thomas ‘When one becomes two what will you do?’ and this becomes the central metaphor of the book: twins, doubles, doppelgangers. For a short book with so light a touch there’s a tightness and surety to the way in which preoccupations are worked through. So that amidst the personal lamentation of ‘Remembering Before Forgetting’ and ‘After Verlaine’ are juxtaposed a poem on the Brooklyn Bridge, a poem about the Buddhas of Bamiyan, as well as a poem on the cutting of the OUP poetry list, the sharply satirical ‘In the OUP hospital’ where she writes ‘I’d rather be lying unpublished / than be published by you and be dead’. Refreshing, dangerous, ironic, always surprising, this is Salzman at her most Salzmannesque. – Poetry Book Society Special Commendation Spring 2003
As if convinced that all divination of the future is somehow a revisioning of the past, Kwame Dawes reminds us of the clairvoyance of haunting. The lyric poems in ‘City of Bones’ constitute a restless jeremiad for our times, and Dawes’s inimitable voice peoples this collection with multitudes of souls urgently and forcefully singing, shouting, groaning, and dreaming.
Translated by Charlotte Coombe.
In a nameless suburb in an equally nameless country, every house has a room reserved for the president. No one knows when or why this came to be. It’s simply how things are, and no one seems to question it except for one young boy.
The room is kept clean and tidy, nobody talks about it and nobody is allowed to use it. It is for the president and no one else. But what if he doesn’t come? And what if he does? As events unfold, the reader is kept in the dark about what’s really going on. So much so, in fact, that we begin to wonder if even the narrator can be trusted . . .
Ricardo Romero has been compared to Kafka and Italo Calvino, and we see why in this eerie, meditative novel narrated by a shy young boy who seems to be very good at lying about the truth. Following in the footsteps of Julio Cortázar and a certain literary tradition of sinister rooms (such as Dr Jekyll’s laboratory), The President’s Room is a mysterious tale based on the suspicion that a house is never just one single home.
At university, two worlds collide. Johnny Bevan, the whip-smart, mercurial kid from a city council estate, saves Nick Burton from living his father’s safe life, but it ends tragically. Years later, a world-weary Nick is reminded of their friendship. Can Johnny save Nick again?
How do we even begin to narrate the history of the world? Where do we start, and where do we end? Fireflies is Luis Sagasti’s bold and original attempt to answer these questions. Taking an eclectic array of influences and personalities from modern history, he teases out events that at first glance seem random and insignificant and proceeds to weave them together masterfully, entertaining as he enlightens. Joseph Beuys, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Stanley Kubrick, Neil Armstrong, Wittgenstein, Glenn Miller and the Beatles; poets and authors, priests, astronauts and Russian sailors all make an appearance, and Sagasti finds common threads to bind their stories together.
The fireflies themselves perhaps provide the key to understanding this book. They become a metaphor for the resistance of certain luminous moments, certain twinkling fragments of history, to the passing of time. They remind us that events do not always disappear neatly into the darkness, but rather remain, floating in the air, lighting up the night sky for years to come. Sagasti shows us that the present moment, like this novel, is a tapestry woven of a multiplicity of times.
Using his unique, poetic and keenly observant style, Sagasti turns the accidents of history into a single, lyrical constellation, and for the reader it’s an extraordinary sight.