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About leyla

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    consultant anaesthetist, retired v early due to scleroderma, occasional medico political journalist
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  1. The sections in the school - the banter among the boys - made me laugh out loud, Chuntzy. Obviously the outside events were tragic and awful. For me, marrying the two was brilliant, making a truly great tragi-comedy.
  2. Hate: A Romance by Tristan Garcia, translated from French by Marion Duvert and Lorin Stein Garcia is hot property in France where this, his debut novel, won the Prix De Flore. A philosophy graduate, he has previously published a book of philosophy and this is reflected in this novel which is one of ideas and politics more than action. The story, set during the ‘80s and ‘90s, is narrated by Elizabeth, a journalist on the left-leaning paper Liberation, and revolves around her and three friends. Doum is a fellow journalist on her paper. Brought up in a left wing home in Corsica whe
  3. I actually don't mention in either review the bit which possibly bugged me the most: there's a chapter entitled The Sikh, about a Sikh surgeon who struggles to place a central line (iv in neck) in her. I've been on the giving and receiving end of these - I've put in many hundreds as it's a common procedure in anaesthetics, and had a few in myself. I was a bit uncomfortable with her mention of the guy being a Sikh (both in the title and the substance of the chapter) since she then goes on to paint him negatively for taking ages to put a line in. I know some people can be tricky to get a li
  4. Anyone who enjoys books about dysfunctional families might appreciate journalist Elizabeth Day's debut. It starts with promise and captures the tensions of a fraught mother-daughter relationship well, and also deals sensitively with the issue of an inappropriate father-daughter relationship. Occasionally the writing feels rushed or simplistic. I've read some of Day's journalism and she can write very well, so I think perhaps she was in a hurry to get this manuscript finished: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-e...ay-2200097.html
  5. Thanks Jen. There were a few things about her tone and what she said that made me uncomfortable - eg derogatory comments about a surgeon who she twice specified was a Sikh, and she said he 'sweated on her and stunk up the room with his frustration' or words to that effect, which I found unnecessary - his race/religion struck me as irrelevant to his competence, plus he wasn't incompetent in any way in any case, he just took a while to get a line in, which happens to any surgeon/anaesthetist from time to time . I shudder at him reading the book, especially because presumably he will be easily id
  6. Sarah Manguso's spiky little volume about her battle with a rare auto-immune illness is a stark read. My review looks tiny, having started out as it did at 1000 words and being whittled by myself to 400, but here it is: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/the-two-kinds-of-decay-by-sarah-manguso-2198239.html#Scene_1 I saw an interesting debate on the Guardian book pages recently. Julie Myerson had reviewed Emma Forrest's new memoir about depression/self harm/bulimia, which is based on her affair with a famous actor. Myerson pointed out that Forrest seemed in pl
  7. Thanks Kim. I know what you mean about Hadley's focus being narrow - that's what I meant by her being admired for her brush strokes if not always the bigger picture (as I'm sure you'll know.) I actually don't mind the absence of much plot, concentration on the everyday or a narrow range of settings/time periods/etc if someone's writing really appeals to me and if they can make the ordinary extraordinary with their prose, but I know some people prefer more adventurousness from a novelist.
  8. Wow Binker, what fascinating anecdotes. With that family history the book must have had extra resonance for you. And the accuracy of Mitchell's details based on your ancestors' experiences hint at how much research he must have done to get things absolutely right. I also very much liked your extremely perceptive point about Mitchell playing with form so that Orito's experience was more gothic horror while other aspects of the book were inclined to historical realism. I hadn't thought of that but it makes perfect sense given his interest in experimenting with form in Cloud Atlas. I did like
  9. I agree Jen. I note that reviews of the paperback edition have been mainly very positive. I wonder if when it first came out some reviewers were cool about it because they assumed it was sensationalist and even after reading (and seeing it wasn't) somehow still viewed it as too populist to merit real plaudits. I loved it from the start and couldn't understand why so many people seemed to have an almost visceral dislike for it.
  10. After a book that started with promise but ended up being mediocre (by Eliz Day), I read a sparky memoir by a woman with an auto immune disease (Sarah Manguso) and then a wonderfully heart-warming memoir by a woman who grew up in care in Glasgow (Alison Gangel). Am now reading Leo Benedictus's The Afterparty which is the funniest book I've read since Skippy Dies.
  11. Good thinking Jen, that's actually what someone else suggested as an explanation. I had wondered if, as is occasionally the case with normality (UK) and normalcy (US), there might be differing preferences geographically. I actually liked the flow of acuity and articulacy together, and found articulateness horribly clunky, but it all ends up as fish and chip paper in the end so I don't suppose it matters! But I do love words and find them fascinating, so it's great to hear your input - thanks.
  12. Any readers who love the work of Rose Tremain, Hilary Mantel, Anne Tyler or Sue Miller will, I think, really fall for Tessa Hadley as I did. After I wrote the review I read an article she'd written about her interest in social anthropology, and you can really feel that fascination and the way it's honed her perception of everyday detail, behaviour and speech. They changed my use of 'articulacy' to 'articulateness' in the first sentence - anyone know why this would be? I see both are listed as possible nouns in dictionaries but I've always preferred the less clunky-sounding former. Perhaps
  13. Laughing at this, Grammath. I've read some Roth and am not as keen on him as many. I also find his female characters somewhar two dimensional. But I recognise that he is a very good writer. That's interesting. There was a discussion about Jacobson on the Man Booker forum a while back, and another woman and I both suggested that our tepid attitude to Jacobson when compared with other male writers who also tended to not feature vivid, complex female characters (like Martin Amis, for example), was because basically we find Amis much funnier than Jacobson. A great SOH can make me ov
  14. Despite her vast output, Oates’s fiction has never diluted its sense of drama. In these ten chilling stories, she returns again to a subject that has lurked in the wings of much of her fiction – violence, implicit or overt; often with the lingering undertones of non-consensual sex hanging like pheromones in the air. In the title story, an embittered middle-aged woman writes a letter to the eminent academic who seduced and then spurned her in her youth. As the letter unfolds, its obsessive detail becomes more disturbing, the woman’s derangement becoming apparent in the details she knows about
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