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Culture Literature

Beyond ‘whimsical escapism’: the reality behind the beloved Moomins

To escape the overriding sense of guilt which characterised my first lockdown experience, I decided to go in search of some whimsical escapism. I found myself returning to Moomin Valley, and discovered that Tove Jansson’s Moomin series offers a complex exploration of relationships, identity, and sense of place, all conveyed with an elegant balance of […]

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Culture Literature

Lighthouse Books’ queer book club reads ‘Meaty’ by Samantha Irby: a review

As a lover of literature, I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t attended many book clubs before. Perhaps because I, like many others, enjoy reading as a solitary activity to escape having to interact with other people. But last week I attended the lovely Lighthouse Books’ queer writing book club, ‘Other Fruit’.  This week’s book […]

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Culture Literature

Eileen Myles in conversation with Lighthouse Bookshop

As I settled down in my living room on Wednesday night to watch Eileen Myles chat to Rosa Campbell about their new novel on writing and craft titled For Now, I feared that I might be a tad disappointed with the live discussion. Whilst I am a huge fan of Myles, the topic of discussion […]

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Culture Literature

Poem of the Week: Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Darkling Thrush’

Hardy’s opening stanza includes some of the bleakest lines of poetry I’ve come across, but I equally think that they are the most beautiful and honest. The narrator makes no effort to subdue the desolation and hostility of the scene, and it is in these opening lines that Hardy first depicts the wintry motionlessness of […]

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Culture Literature

Manifesting the dreamscape in Murakami’s ‘Kafka on the Shore’

With the U.K. under lockdown for much of 2020, our newfound abundance of time has inspired new heights of introspection among many. What better time, then, to tackle Haruki Murakami’s great metaphysical and introspective mind-bender, Kafka on the Shore? Elegantly diminishing boundaries between reality and dream, waking-life and the subconscious, Murakami holds his ground as […]

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Culture Literature

N. K. Jemisin’s ‘The Fifth Season’ review: The last instalment of The Student’s lockdown literature challenge

Fantasy literature is traditionally considered a conservative genre. It is dominated by white men – from the writers, fans and critics to the very characters themselves. Its heroes frequently strive to maintain the status quo, rather than challenging the values of the world in which they live in. Indeed, its fanbase has sometimes proved remarkably […]

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Culture Literature

Free Women, Free Men

Content warning: sexual assault, victim blaming Camille Paglia’s self-affirmation as an advocate of gender equality could not be further from the truth. In her most recent selection of essays, Free Women, Free Men, Paglia leaps from topic to topic, covering subjects from the hyper-masculinity of football culture to issues of modern sex education. Whilst the breadth […]

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Culture Literature

Forever Words

Forever Words is a beautiful and loving tribute to the late Johnny Cash. It uncovers the reality behind the familiar and famous image of the ‘Man in Black’, revealing the funny wholly human man behind the persona.  If anyone is timeless it is Johnny Cash – over ten years after his death and 2,000 published songs […]