Holmes and Watson discuss ‘Holmes and Watson’.

‘To the man who loves art for its own sake,’ remarked Sherlock Holmes, tossing aside the advertisement sheet of the Daily Telegraph, ‘it is frequently in its least important and lowliest manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived.’ ‘My dear friend, how can you say such a thing?’ I exclaimed with some surprise,…

Notes on the final ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ trailer.

The final Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald trailer is here. Visually stunning, it pleasingly reinvents some awful clichés of cinematic dialogue, promises a subtle and maniacal performance from Johnny Depp and provides further, deeply-moving insight into the Dumbledore and Grindelwald dynamic. Unfortunately, it also leaves us with difficult questions that the film itself may not be able to answer, and that the Internet’s elephantine, erroneous accusations of racism may prevent us from asking in the first place.

‘The House with the Stained Glass Window’ by Żanna Słoniowska (tr. Antonia Lloyd Jones): Book review.

History, pain and identity pile up like strata across four generations of Russian-speaking, ethnic Polish women in Żanna Słoniowska’s stunning novel of Soviet Ukraine, The House with the Stained Glass Window. The young, unnamed female narrator of The House with the Stained Glass Window (Polish title : Dom z witrażem) lives with her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother in the Ukrainian city…

‘Farewell, My Queen’ (2012): Review

Farewell, My Queen is maddening. It’s one of those films that has everything – a charismatic lead, a unique aesthetic, an interesting twist on the Marie Antoinette story that has the potential to reinvent it altogether – and then fails to do much with any of these things. The result is a mildly unconventional splash in a very large pond that creates a few ripples of mild, not-too-burning interest.

‘History of Wolves’ by Emily Fridlund (review)

I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Critics have seen much in Emily Fridlund’s History of Wolves. It was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize, an incredible achievement for a first novel. It has been described as ‘a beautiful literary work’ (BBC Radio 4) and ‘one of the most intelligent and poetic novels…

‘The Sadeian Woman and the Ideology of Pornography’ by Angela Carter (review)

The Marquis de Sade, canon of cruelty and archdeacon of disgust, could hardly be described as a poster boy for the empowerment of women. Nonetheless, it is this outlandish idea that is put forward by Angela Carter in her brutally uncompromising and upsettingly lucid treatise The Sadeian Woman and the Ideology of Pornography (1979).

‘The Penelopiad’ by Margaret Atwood (review).

In a much-forgotten episode at the end of Homer’s Odyssey, twelve maids are mercilessly hanged for doing what women must in order to survive. Penelope, unraveller of shrouds and refuser of suitors, who patiently waits twenty years for her husband Odysseus to finish fighting and shagging his way around the Aegean, tells their story, and hers, in this radical feminist reinterpretation of The Odyssey.