Tag: Fiction

The Magnificent Jumble of Donald Barthelme’s Stories

In the evenings, usually, the catechist approaches. “Where have you been?” he asks. “In the park,” I say. “Was she there?” he asks. “No,” I say. Most of his stories read like collages of facts, nonfacts, imaginary blips and bleeps, and quotations from famous figures that might or might not be entirely accurate (Schlegel, Daumier, […]

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John Le Carré’s Genius for Surveillance

If the Smiley novels are centered around the Circus’s senior ranks on the “fifth floor,” the post-wall novels focus on the amateurs whom the Circus draws into its fold. There is Barley Blair, the alcoholic bookseller in The Russia House who sojourns to post-Soviet Russia to cultivate a source in the government physics department; there […]

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