Browser: Clones, partition and Nathalie Sarraute

Brief reviews of : Every Second Second; Partition: How and Why Ireland Was Divided; Nathalie Sarraute : A Life Between

 Nathalie Sarraute in 1987: Ann Jefferson has written a lively and engaging biography of the French novelist and dramatist. Photograph: Louis Monier/ Gamma-Rapho via Getty

Nathalie Sarraute in 1987: Ann Jefferson has written a lively and engaging biography of the French novelist and dramatist. Photograph: Louis Monier/ Gamma-Rapho via Getty

 

Every Second Second
Dan Finn
Red Books Press, €12

Detective Murdoch, sensing that something hasn’t been quite right for some time, is back drinking after four years on the dry, when his colleague McIntosh introduces him to “the Mandela Effect”. It all started with CERN, the real purpose of which was to “open up a portal to allow interdimensional entities through”. A young girl was to be sacrificed to celebrate this crowning achievement but things went wrong; Earth was destroyed but not before sending some people to an alternate Earth. Many became mere clones (“New Earthers”) but some were their original selves (“Old Earthers”). With the help of a medium, Murdoch and McIntosh learn that the young girl survived as a spirit and have to rescue her. A science fiction, detective-fiction, dystopian-plus mix – somewhat zany but also absorbing. – Brian Maye

Partition: How and Why Ireland Was Divided
Ivan Gibbons
Haus Publishing, £12.99

Ivan Gibbons regards the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which partitioned Ireland, as the most important piece of legislation Britain passed for this country, more important even than the Anglo-Irish Treaty 1921, and it puzzles him how little attention it has received. Partition began as a temporary expedient to resolve internal UK conflicting tensions but evolved into a permanent frontier between two sovereign states and now Britain’s only land border with the EU. Various chapters deal with the Home Rule Bills and the growing unionist opposition to them, how changes in Irish nationalism contributed, how partition came to be enacted and to endure for a century. The book has nothing new to offer on the well-known story it tells and its lack of referencing is unusual in a historical work. – Brian Maye

Nathalie Sarraute : A Life Between
Ann Jefferson
Princeton University Press, £24.95

“My real characters, my only characters are words. But charged, freighted. They’re not words for the sake of words.” Nathalie Sarraute’s declaration to an interviewer in 1978 summed up a long life (she lived to 99) of passionate, unflinching commitment to writing. Ann Jefferson’s lively and engaging biography of the French novelist and dramatist shows how this commitment often set her at odds with dominant literary fashions. Closely associated with the formalist firebrands of the nouveau roman, she remained sceptical of dogma and retained her critical distance from ex-cathedra pronouncements. Abandoned by her mother in Russia and ostracised by her stepmother in France, Sarraute built a world out of exclusions. Jewish by birth, she led a clandestine existence in wartime France, forced to dress in widow’s weeds to see her children in a public park in Paris. The author of Tropisms, The Planetarium and Childhood drew on the multiple nuances of rejection to create one of most memorable voices in modern French literature.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.