The idea of The Great American Novel feels like an albatross around the neck of that country’s literature. Sooner or later every white middle-class male writer with any kind of reputation feels obliged to have a stab at it, usually with limited success. Eventually they think it’s time to pack away all the fun stuff like storytelling, energy and plot, and make some big state-of-the-nation address, telling people exactly how things stand in the good ol’ US of A. Interestingly, America’s women writers don’t tend to feel the obligation to grandstand so strongly, and their novels are usually all the better for that.
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Thursday 26 December 2013
The French President staked his political credibility on a fall in the number of unemployed by the end of the year, but the figures are not going his way. What now for France’s increasingly unpopular leader, asks John Lichfield
Wednesday 25 December 2013
World view: When I met him, his Siberian eyes were as alert as a wolf’s; he was brash, tough, unashamed. I guess he had to be
'Tightrope walker' and 'trapeze artist': François Hollande is a wimp at home and a warrior in Africa
Tuesday 17 December 2013
The French President has been criticised for his interventions in Mali and CAR but insists it is not old-fashioned paternalism but a mission to save lives
Friday 13 December 2013
The former French president apparently informed pals of his mapped-out life plan recently
Wednesday 11 December 2013
Vaudeville Theatre, London
Thursday 05 December 2013
French president François Hollande’s woes deepened today as unemployment hit its highest level for more than 16 years.
Sunday 24 November 2013
Swiss voters today overwhelmingly defeated a proposal to limit the pay of top executives to 12 times the wages of their lowliest employees.
Wednesday 13 November 2013
The French president has been left with little room for manoeuvre by collapsing poll ratings
Thursday 07 November 2013
Occupations are part of wider movement against centre-left government
Tuesday 15 October 2013
Wilfried Martens led nine Belgian governments and the European Union's Christian Democrat group. Regarded as a somewhat grey figure, he was attacked by Margaret Thatcher in her memoirs as weak, thanks in part to the occasion when a minor official from one of Belgium's coalition minority parties, working at a ministry one weekend, apparently refused to sell ammunition to Britain during the Falklands conflict. But elsewhere the Iron Lady expressed her admiration for Martens, and with his wily sense of realpolitik and the art of compromise he survived as prime minister for 12 years, from 1979 to 1991, a year longer than Thatcher herself, with only a brief break in the early 1980s.
Monday 14 October 2013
Mainstream groups concerned that National Front could gain more regional council seats
Can Nicolas Sarkozy stage another comeback? Court ruling clears way for former French president to reclaim his throne
Sunday 13 October 2013
Liberated by a ruling last week that spares him the humiliation of a trial for the alleged fleecing of the ailing nonagenarian billionairess Liliane Bettencourt, Nicolas Sarkozy has been "energised", say his friends. Thus reinvigorated, he intends to rise from the political grave next year and begin a three-year campaign to reclaim the Elysée Palace.
Saturday 12 October 2013
150,000 people lined up to pay respects to the so-called 'Red Napoleon'
Monday 07 October 2013
Tsochatzopoulos' conviction is the latest in a series of corruption cases involving prominent public figures
Monday 07 October 2013
Football in Germany is a luxury designed for the many, not the few
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
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