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Archive for June, 2007

June 20th, 2007 • Posted in Authors and Books

Kingsley Amis famously on Hangovers, Ted Hughes and Seduction

“Dixon was alive again. Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way; not for him the slow, gracious wandering from the halls of sleep, but a summary, forcible ejection. He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider-crab on the tarry shingle of the morning. The light did him harm, but not so much as looking at things did; he resolved, having done it once, never to move his eyeballs again. A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police. He felt bad.” From Lucky Jim.

[Jim might have benefited from P.G. Wodehouse and Jeeve's secret hangover remedy which some have conjectured looks like this:

1 egg yolk
4 oz. tomato juice
Balsamic vinegar
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot or red onion 1 pinch of salt
2 pinches black pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 oz. cognac

And feels like this: " if someone had touched off a bomb inside the old bean and was strolling down my throat with a lighted torch." Carry on, Jeeves]

“I hope the Tatler asked you for your views on [Ronald] Firbank. I told them he summed up all the crappy things about novels that Saul Bellow left unsummed-up, though I didn’t put it as elegantly as that. … By the way, could you reassure me about something? Ted Hughes is as ABSOLUTELY DEVOID OF ANY KIND OF MERIT WHATSOEVER as his late wife [Sylvia Plath] was, isn’t he? I mean, he is, isn’t he? … P.S. Enclosed is by Seamus Heaney. Just a sample; there are 5 and half more pages of it. … One doesn’t just think, what blinding crap, but even more, what vociferously insincere egomaniacal crap.”

From Kingsley Amis’ Letters

“It has never surprised me that some men should try to beat Don Juan’s traditional total, only that more do not. Seduction is the unique sensual act; other pleasures, including sex per se, are mere activities, durative and repetitive. Each particular seduction is a final and unchangeable thing, a part of history. … A sculpture can become nothing but a stale grotesque, a poem lose all its edge, but nothing of the sort can happen to what you got up to that night with the princess or the barmaid.”

From The Green Man

These quotes are all found in an article by Michael Dirda here. Pity Amis Sr. (The King) isn’t a bit more opinionated…outspoken, eh?


June 20th, 2007 • Posted in Authors and Books

We Shall Never be Cowed

“Very properly, we were concerned only with merit in relation to the level of the award,” said Andreas Whittam Smith, member of the arts and media committee that recently proposed Salman Rushdie for a knighthood, in the Guardian.

“There is only one explanation why Rushdie has been singled out. It is that Tony Blair … wants to put two fingers up to Iran as well as to extremist Islam everywhere,” said writer/biographer Ruth Dudley Edwards.

Fun televised debate here

June 20th, 2007 • Posted in Authors and Books

Impac Dublin Award stays the Course

A writer little known beyond Norway has beaten many of the biggest international names to the world’s richest book prize. Per Petterson’s Out Stealing Horses takes the 100,000-euro purse for the Impac Dublin award for what the judges called "a poignant and moving tale of a changing perspective on the world … and of nostalgia for a simpler
way of life." More here.

No surprise this winner. The Impac usually goes to lesser rather than better known authors…here’s the list.