Monday, November 21, 2005

Strangeland -Tracey Emin

I have always wondered how Tracey Emin can survive her life with so few apparent boundaries. She is like a raw and screaming nerve, with nothing to protect it from the world. Reading this I realised that is just part of the job. Art is about feeling and responding, and the fewer barriers to feeling and responding, the better the art. The book is beautifully written, with daubs of story – including some handwritten sections – assembling themselves into a revealing and powerful picture of the artist. The book is raw, unsentimental, unapologetic and strong, and will give you a respect for Tracey Emin that you may not have had before.


Tracey Emin

Sceptre, ₤14.99

Monday, November 07, 2005

Conversations in Bolzano - Sandor Marai, translated by George Szirtes

When the cover says A tale of Casanova by the author of Embers, and shows three blokes, two dogs and a wench in a bustle heading for the countryside, how could you not expect rumpy-pumpy and a sword fight? Well, not if you had already read Conversations in Bolzano. There is nothing X rated here. Bolzano bedrooms are exclusively Y, Z and G rated. You hit Y at page 10: yawwwn.; and Z about 20 pages later: zzzzz, zzzzz, zzzzz. G is when a book about gardening distracts you, never to return (page 70). Someone who did go all the way said it gets more interesting, but not enough to justify the effort.

Conversations in Bolzano

Sandor Marai, translated by George Szirtes

Penguin, ₤7.99