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27 march 2020

"Most people have not been stabbed with acid-dipped daggers or branded with red-hot pokers," writes Richard Jones, "but almost all will have been stung by a wasp at some point" (27).     read more

26 march 2020

Back in the days when retail shopping was a thing – a few weeks ago – I picked up a copy of David Greig's Selected Plays, 1999-2009 for a dollar or two in a thrift store. I found the first play in the collection, San Diego (2003) to be intriguing but rather manic and unfocused; its combination of shock effects and elaborate rhetoric seemed to come from somewhere between Tony Kushner and Martin McDonagh, and though I can see the play might be absorbing in the right production, it doesn't lend itself to coherent discussion. (Such as I can manage at the best of times.)     read more

23 march 2020

There are no yew trees in our garden. This is Texas, and I associate yew trees with northern climes, cemeteries, and English longbowmen.     read more

22 march 2020

There comes a time in many a police-procedural series where the old gumshoe routine, even if applied to the most outlandish of crimes or criminals, can't sustain the reader's – or perhaps more to the point, the writer's – interest any more. The author sends the hero into exile. He has to surrender his badge and gun. He goes on the lam, suspected of murder; the hunter becomes the hunted. He finds out who his friends really are. He wonders if, in some amnesiac moment, he might have really committed the crime that everybody else seems to think he did.     read more