Patrick Flanery

Life in reverse

The publication of César Aira’s The Lime Tree in Chris Andrews’s assured translation is a reminder that much of the Argentinian writer’s massive literary output — now more than 70 books — remains inaccessible in English. In this novella, which teases readers with suggestions of the autobiographical, Aira has one eye on his country’s past

A brutal race

More than 25 years ago, Peter Carey co-wrote one of the most audacious road movies ever made, Wim Wenders’s Until the End of the World, which circles the globe before concluding with a long interlude in the Australian outback. While the film was in the mode of speculative science fiction and Carey’s captivating A Long

The great depression

If it was not yet ‘The Age of Anxiety’ in 1947, when Auden published his long poem of the same name, now it most certainly is, given the manifold global uncertainties that keep any sane person awake with worry. Nearly 20 per cent of adult Americans have been diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder, while

David Mitchell is in a genre of his own

David Mitchell’s new book, Slade House, is not quite a novel and not really a collection of short stories. It is, rather, a puzzle and an amusement. A member of the same family as last year’s The Bone Clocks, it also has a slight connection to his 2010 novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de

Hope against hope

At the eye of apartheid South Africa’s storm of insanities was a mania for categorisation. Everything belonged in its place, among its own kind, as if compartments for scientific specimens had been laid out across the land. Or, as Christopher Hope puts it in his caustic new satire, people were ‘corralled in separate ethnic enclosures,