Critical Linking: July 3, 2012

Other characters include “Dorry, an octogenarian schizophrenic who’s been on the ward for decades and knows all its secrets; Coffee, an African immigrant with severe OCD, who tries desperately to send alarms to the outside world; and Loochie, a bipolar teenage girl who acts as the group’s enforcer.”

No, these aren’t the characters in Richard Russo’s new memoir. Alas.

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Writers live not when professors produce monographs and hold conferences on them (as valuable as many of these are) or when they have the official approval of reviewers (of either the column-writing or the star-clicking variety). A writer’s work is alive when it finds a receptive home in — Durrell’s phrase in a poem about Seferis — the “lost property office of the loving mind.”

Lawrence Durrell, one of the last great literary polymaths.

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“One feels that in the end,” he says, “money and power will have its way.”

The embodiment of middle-class decency releases a novel about anything but.

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