On Robert Bolano

BY ANDREW MOODY From the pen of the late Chilean author Roberto Bolano, Nazi Literature in the Americas takes for itself the fascinating and unique structure of a strict, mock serious set of biographies of imaginary Pan American right-wing writers. Placing the novel into a genre is tough, it’s speculative fiction as well as a mockery of post modernity. The irony of the book is … Continue reading On Robert Bolano

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Serotonin

BY ANDREW MOODY French enfant terrible Michel Houellebecq’s seventh novel Serotonin follows similar themes to his other bestsellers. Narrator Florent is an unattractive, nihilistic, middle aged white man who decides one day to leave his younger Japanese girlfriend and opt out of the pressures of Parisian life, spurred on by a TV show about people leaving their past lives and the bestiality videos his girlfriend … Continue reading Serotonin

Look Who’s Back

BY ANDREW MOODY Like Sleeping Beauty, Adolf Hitler wakes one morning in wasteland that used to house the Fuhrerbunker, smelling of petrol and with a splitting headache. He is impeccably dressed in his army uniform, and can’t quite understand why his final orders (total military harakiri) weren’t carried out. Soon he finds out it’s 2011 in Berlin, and, with the skill and courage only a … Continue reading Look Who’s Back

Hill House

BY ANDREW MOODY Shirley Jackson had the inspiration to write a ghost story from two sources: firstly a book she was reading on Victorian psychic researchers (see John Gray’s The Immortalization Commission for a detailed critique on this dubious art) and secondly a horrifying-looking house on 125 street New York that she had nightmares about for months afterwards. Stephen King wrote in his classic assessment … Continue reading Hill House

Thompson

BY ANDREW MOODY Dr Hunter S Thompson (the doctorate was ordered by airmail in the 60s) was one of the most original, wild and innovative political writers of the twentieth century. A born rebel, he never graduated from high school after a delinquency rap saw him do thirty days in a juvenile prison. He joined the air force straight after, with the secret intention of … Continue reading Thompson

Donnie Darko

BY ANDREW MOODY A cult sleeper hit at the turn of the century, shortly after Columbine and shortly before 9/11, Donnie Darko is a curious, beautiful and ultimately tragic romance that ranks with the best movies of the past twenty years. Written and directed by Richard Kelly, his bravery in making a film this lyrical about what is either directly or subtextually about mental illness … Continue reading Donnie Darko

The Collector

BY ANDREW MOODY I think we are just insects, we live a bit and then die and that’s the lot. There’s no mercy in things. There’s not even a Great Beyond. There’s nothing. Frederick, an unloved, sexually awkward clerk whose hobby is butterfly collecting (with much in common with Norman Bates), falls in love with the sight of art student Miranda. After a massive win … Continue reading The Collector

Bonjour Tristesse

BY ANDREW MOODY In 1954, 18-year-old Francoise Sagan stunned the Parisian literary scene with Bonjour Tristesse, a scandalous tale of decadence and teenage sexuality on the French Riviera. That she had recently failed the Sorbonnes (the French equivalent of the A Levels) made its maturity, sensuality, sin and deceptively sophisticated dialogue see it become an instant bestseller and Sagan hailed as an enfant terrible and … Continue reading Bonjour Tristesse

Dispatches

BY ANDREW MOODY Michael Herr used his memoir and experiences as a war reporter to write the narration for Martin Sheen in Coppola’s masterpiece Apocalypse Now and co-wrote Kubrick’s most enduring film Full Metal Jacket with another Vietnam writer, Gustav Hasford, whose The Short Timers inspired the boot camp sequence. Herr said of Kubrick that had he not been a film director, he would have … Continue reading Dispatches

Welles & Wells

BY ANDREW MOODY On November 8th 1938, Adolf Hitler made reference to the mass hysteria caused by Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre radio production of War of the Worlds, as evidence of “the corrupt condition and decadent state of affairs in democracy”. “He hadn’t much else to say,” Welles wryly commented during a meeting with the original author HG Wells in 1940 after war had erupted … Continue reading Welles & Wells