Friday, April 14, 2006

The Financial Times

has done a very appealing thing and made its weekend books section free online to non-subscribers. There's some great stuff there this week, including a moving piece by Anna Maria Levi about growing up with her brother Primo (as told to Patrick Nathanson). It ends on a dark note (I can quite see how translating Kafka would be trying if you were already rather depressed):

As for my brother's death in 1987, there were a number of factors behind the depression that drove him to end his own life. One of those was the gloom brought on by translating Kafka's The Trial. Another reason was the effort it took him to write his last book, The Drowned and the Saved - it took everything out of him.

Before he died, Primo came to be seen as someone who could magically resolve everybody's problems with the wave of a hand, as if he had the answer to everything. I think this became a bit of a burden to him. But the thing I remember most about my brother is that he was just a very kind, loving and gentle person.

Also, Rosie Blau interviews Carmen Callil, founder of the feminist publishing house Virago and author of a new book about Louis Darquier, the Commissioner for Jewish Affairs in Vichy France from 1942-44 who was responsible for sending over ten thousand Jews to the camps.

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