30/04/2022
30 Apr 2022

Fractured

30 Apr 2022

Fractured

Books

More from Books
Maggie Fergusson
Poor parenting is at the root of our failing schools

When it comes to education, I’m in two minds, maybe three. I was sent to private schools, including, for my ‘Oxbridge’ term, Eton, where the teaching was life-changing. But when it came to my children, no amount of cheeseparing was going to make private fees possible. From the age of three to 18, they went to our local state schools. They flourished academically, made lots of friends and enjoyed two advantages I never had: they walked to school, and mixed comfortably with children from every background.

Poor parenting is at the root of our failing schools
Christopher Shrimpton
Boy wonder: The Young Pretender, by Michael Arditti, reviewed

During his brief stage career Master Betty, or the Young Roscius, was no stranger to superlatives: genius, unparalleled, superior, Albion’s glory, a Child of Nature, the Wonder of the Age. He was a child prodigy who, in the early 19th century, took British theatre by storm. Aged just 11 William Betty made his debut and was hailed as a second David Garrick. Bettymania ensued: theatres fought for his services and the House of Commons adjourned early to see him tread the boards.

Boy wonder: The Young Pretender, by Michael Arditti, reviewed
Simon Ings
The musical note that can trigger cold sweats and sightings of the dead

Imagine that all the frequencies nature affords were laid out on an extended piano keyboard. Never mind that some waves are mechanical, propagated through air or some other fluid, and other waves are electro-magnetic and can pass through a vacuum. Lay them down together, and what do you get? The startling answer is a surprisingly narrow piano. To play X-rays (whose waves cycle up to 30,000,000,000,000,000,000 times per second), our pianist would have to travel a mere nine metres to the right of middle C.

The musical note that can trigger cold sweats and sightings of the dead
Adam Begley
The effortless magnetism of Marcel Duchamp

One could compile a fat anthology of tributes to Marcel Duchamp’s charm – especially what one friend called the artist’s ‘physical fineness’ – but it would be hard to top Georgia O’Keeffe’s memory of their first meeting: Duchamp was there and there was conversation. I was drinking tea. When I finished he rose from his chair, took my teacup and put it down at the side with a grace that I had never seen in anyone before and have seldom seen since.

The effortless magnetism of Marcel Duchamp
Chloë Ashby
Momentous decisions: Ruth & Pen, by Emilie Pine, reviewed

Emilie Pine writes about the big things and the little things: friendship, love, fertility, grief; waking, showering, catching the bus. She did so in her startling collection of essays Notes to Self, and she does it again in this, her equally startling debut novel Ruth & Pen. As Ruth (‘Counsellor. Patient. Wife. Wife?’) tells herself in the morning: ‘Swing the wardrobe door open, make a choice. To run. Or to stay. Or just which jacket to wear.

Momentous decisions: Ruth & Pen, by Emilie Pine, reviewed
Will Self
The Soviets were imperialists. Stalin’s architecture proves it

The invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces has rendered what might otherwise have seemed a fairly niche study of a Soviet-era architect rather more resonant. Boris Iofan was born to a Russian-speaking Jewish family in Odessa in 1891. After initial studies in his home city and a brief period working with his older brother Dimitri in St Petersburg, he fled the war engulfing Tsarist Russia for Italy, where he trained at the Istituto Superiore di Belle Arti in Rome.

The Soviets were imperialists. Stalin’s architecture proves it
Lee Langley
Murder, suicide and apocalypse: Here Goes Nothing, by Steve Toltz, reviewed

Angus Mooney is dead. Freshly murdered, he’s appalled to find himself in an Afterworld, having always rejected the possibility of life after death. Moreover, he can observe his murderer getting on increasingly well with his innocent widow. Mooney’s Afterworld is a deeply unsatisfactory mixture of computerised bureaucracy and urban chaos. In a landscape undreamed of by Dante, his guide is no cicerone but a woman with a welcoming bed and good contacts in Management, who knows her way around the local drinking spots.

Murder, suicide and apocalypse: Here Goes Nothing, by Steve Toltz, reviewed
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