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Countering the Contrarian – Richard Seymour’s ‘Unhitched’

Hitchens’ personal branding as a contrarian (armed with logic strong enough to corrode sentiment, fashion, prejudice or cant) became a cloak for a kind of vigorous, journalistic machismo which relied on the warped charisma of the bully to attract consensus and approval.

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A smoky brew – ‘Tarcutta Wake’ by Josephine Rowe

Rowe’s stories show us new possibilities for the fusion of prose and poetry at every turn. Tarcutta Wake is a seductive and rewarding collection, and I will enjoy rereading it often, like the best poetry and short fiction.



Taking his lumps – Murray Whelan in ‘Stiff’

The best crime novelists draw on the psychological insight and emotional drama of literary realism. With Maloney as well, it’s the extra things he does as a writer that breathe life into his good-natured narratives of detection and suspense. Maloney has created a resourceful survivor who is frequently a victim of circumstance. For all his ingenuity and experience, Whelan is routinely taking his lumps.



History and Class Consciousness – Jeremy Chambers’ Debut

In The Vintage and the Gleaning, as in so many novels by educated men of refined sensitivities, there is an underlying idealisation of men who do things with their hands. These men socialise happily with one another, they know how to get along, they live free of pretension, and no matter how lyrical their language or how poetic their turns of phrase, the idea of writing something down would never cross their mind.



Michael Borremans – A Victim of His Situation

Belgian Artist Michaël Borremans insists that his figurative works and portraits do not depict individuals. He aspires to the archetypal, the generic and the anonymous. But Borremans’ figures invite a kind of sympathetic response which undermines his arguments against the dignity of the individual.

The Corner Window

  • Genevieve Tucker
    Fearless – Jennifer Mills’ short fiction

    I am rather surprised this book hasn’t been greeted more noisily. Nam Le lifted the bar, but Jennifer Mills has certainly risen to it, with a tough, unsentimental grace and storytelling gifts to burn.

  • Read and digest

    Regular visitors will have noticed The Ember has been on a go-slow over the last few months. We have been busy preparing for phase two of Ember publishing. For the […]

  • Nick Terrell
    The People’s Press – Wortman’s New York

    For Denys and Hilda Wortman, New York was a city full of people, a city full of punchlines and fragmented theatre. For 30 years, spanning the depression and the Second World War, Denys Wortman’s daily cartoon, Metropolitan Movies, appeared in the New York World newspaper.

A Distempered Tongue

  • Histrionic

    Initially appearing like a typical prima donna, Bruscon’s darker qualities begin to show as his plans steadily go awry. As he piles up his unreasonable demands, the stage hands become increasingly resentful of the appalling treatment they receive from this quasi-demonic hack.

  • Staff in Cahoots with Looters

    Police and customs officers today raided four major museums across the country in the culmination of an operation that has been tracking down antiquities looted from palaces and temples in […]

  • Intelligent Design

    The first step of her clever campaign was to make a video diary in which she explained her intention and her strategy. And so, after she had begun to garrotte […]

The Pixel Press

  • Nathan Russo
    The Sum of History

    The Sum of History Illustration: Maria Mosquera   The conversation cupped together some six or seven persons on the patio of the café, shook them gently, and finally separated the […]

  • Wheeler Sparks

    Illustration: Maria Mosquera Behind the cracked glass door of a small, inconspicuous bookshop, Bird sat in his favorite chair and looked out on the street. A herd of armored vehicles […]