Reviews

Better late than never: the great Theodore Dreiser

Below, a piece I wrote about eighteen months ago, for an ongoing series on normblog and which I never put up on my own site.
So here it is:
It is not always easy to write about a favourite book or even to understand why some works are so much more meaningful to us than others. But with Jennie Gerhardt, Theodore Dreiser’s second and intensely tragic novel, I am acutely aware of how much of the book’s power is,

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Dreamers of a new day?

This really doesn’t seem an apposite title for a blog post as we head, in a matter of hours, into May 6th and a possible hung parliament or worse, a Tory victory. But it IS the title of my latest published article; for anyone interested in our rich radical past, please read my New Statesman review, published yesterday, of Sheila Rowbotham’s magisterial new study of feminist campaigners, activists, pioneers and dreamers at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.

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The kindness of strangers

Last night I watched an amazing film, The Edge of Heaven, a Turkish German co-production about six characters in contemporary Europe, several of them first and second generation immigrants, whose lives become entangled and whose fates mirror each other in various clever, poignant ways.
There are some unbearably sad moments: a mother and daughter, both searching for each other, pass on a motorway; one, in a bus, the other in a car ( going in different directions.) We know that the mother is soon to die and that the daughter will never find her………..ever.

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Hollywood women: then and now

Over the past forty eight hours, I have watched two glossy, high end Hollywood ‘womens pictures’ : All about Eve, starring Bette Davis and Anne Baxter, made in 1950; the other a 2008 remake of George Cukor’s classic The Women, starring Hollywood royalty of a certain age, including Annette Bening, Meg Ryan, Debra Messing,Candice Bergen, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Both films are about love, betrayal, womens’ friendship and professional ambition but one is a classic and the other ……..well,

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