The drama imagines that half-way though the negotiations, Paisley had to make a long car journey to get to his 50th wedding anniversary party, and that for diplomatic reasons of protocol, to balance absences from the negotiation teams, and to answer Sinn Féin’s fear that an unaccompanied retreat to his heartland might sour Paisley on the deal, McGuinness has to accompany him. And while they are forcibly in each other’s company, the ice breaks. … [Read more...] about The Journey review – Northern Ireland history lesson recast as bromance
Celibacy for priests history
When Edward VIII abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson in 1936, he never paused to consider the complex emotional implications the decision would have on his wife. More prescient than him, Wallis – who burst into tears at the first mention of abdication - could see that she would be blamed in perpetuity for stealing a popular king from his throne and almost destroying the monarchy. The relationship that began as a thrilling coup de foudre for the former ruler, became a Faustian pact for his wife. … [Read more...] about To stop history repeating, Meghan must learn from Wallis Simpson
What, though, of the women? In a scene of extreme marital disharmony near the beginning of the book, Aster makes clear her refusal to wait at home for her husband’s return. Subsequently she dons his tunic, jodhpurs and cape and sets off to war in blazingly described fashion, taking Hirut with her. The story that follows – predominantly one of the cat-and-mouse game between Italian and Ethiopian forces – is interspersed with fragments: descriptions of the documentary photographs taken by a young Venetian soldier, Ettore; brief glimpses of Selassie in Bath, as he contemplates the potential destruction of his rule and, by way of comfort, devotes himself to listening to the opera Aida; and the interjections of a Greek-style chorus. Alongside the story of Hirut, Aster and Kidane comes that of the Jewish Ettore, exiled from his family and only latterly learning of his father’s own exile from his native Russia. As he waits for letters from his parents, he is confronted … [Read more...] about The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste review – remembering Ethopia’s female soldiers
Despite Bacevich’s call for conversation on issues formerly “beyond the pale” such as abandoning globalism and “militarism”, his book has a fatal weakness: he never quite says what or who he is for. He is too good a historian not to know there was a tendency of “anti-anti-communism” during the cold war. Perhaps his book is about “anti-anti-Trumpism”. But “the pale” is there for a reason … [Read more...] about The Age of Illusions review: anti-anti-Trump but for … what, exactly?
Comparisons have been made between Toni Morrison’s early novels, The Bluest Eye and Sula, also about young black girls. While this literary lineage is evident, James Baldwin’s seminal 1962 novel, Another Country, which foregrounded racial and LGBT identities in New York, also springs to mind. More recently, Colm Toibin’s 2009 novel, Brooklyn, foregrounded an Irish, female, immigrant experience to the borough. Another Brooklyn echoes both titles, but Woodson evokes a New York of the 70s seen through the prism of young black females who are least likely to be portrayed in literature or any other art form, at the centre of it. “We were four girls together, amazingly beautiful and terrifyingly alone. This is memory.” … [Read more...] about Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson review – dreams and danger on the streets of New York