Derek Raymond’s The Devil’s Home On Leave

I had to search out the second novel in Derek Raymond’s Factory series, for though the whole pentalogy was reissued at the start of the last decade, it has once again fallen out of print. That should not be taken […]

Seamus Heaney’s Opened Ground: Poems, 1966-1996

In my memory, Seamus Heaney only died very recently, but I see now, as I research his life, that it has been seven long years since he passed away. I still remember where I was when I heard the news, […]

Yukio Mishima’s Confessions Of A Mask

Published in 1949 in Japan but translated into English only in 1958, Confessions Of A Mask, Mishima’s second novel, both captivated and scandalized international audiences. The book is entirely dominated by the opinions and perceptions of Kochan, its narrator-protagonist, who […]

Eric Newby’s A Short Walk In The Hindu Kush

In 1956, a decorated British veteran of World War II named Eric Newby abruptly quit his job in a women’s clothing store to travel to, and attempt to climb, the mountains of Nuristan, Afghanistan, specifically the supposedly unscalable Mir Samir. […]

Osamu Dazai’s The Setting Sun

I have been reading post-war Japanese literature of late, in the conviction that Japan’s shock transition from a self-governed empire into an economy neatly folded into the international world order might shed some light on what has happened in the […]

Kanan Makiya’s Republic Of Fear

When Republic Of Fear, an inside look at how the Ba’ath Party ruled Iraq, was finally published in 1989, after three long years of publishers deferring out of sheer disbelief at the horrific details contained within, Saddam Hussein had not […]

David W. Blight’s Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

The man the world would come to know as Frederick Douglass was born into slavery as Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey on a plantation in Talbot County, Maryland, but he shed his middle names soon after shedding his manacles, giving himself […]

Alberto Moravia’s Agostino

Alberto Moravia was a decorated Italian author whose life, from 1907 to 1990, spanned most of the 20th century. Two consequential events marked him from a young age: his diagnosis, at 9 years old, with tuberculosis of the bone, resulting […]

Carl Jung’s Modern Man In Search Of A Soul

Carl Jung, I assume, needs no introduction, but Modern Man In Search Of A Soul – a collection of his lecture and one original essay – was my first foray into the work of the famous Swiss psychologist. This volume was consciously […]

Joseph Frank’s Dostoevsky: The Stir of Liberation, 1860-1865

The third volume of the late Princeton professor Joseph Frank’s Dostoevsky pentalogy begins on the heels of the second, with Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky returned from his exile in a Siberian labour camp and released from the subsequent mandatory military service […]