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Re-thinking Ingmar Bergman in an Irreverent Age

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"I had been watching a lot of Hong Kong action films from the 80’s at the time I started work on Jack Fish, and I wanted to get the same kind of pace and energy into my book. “Noir” comes up a lot about Jack Fish, but my noir is more 80’s Hong Kong movie noir than Jim Thompson or Ellroy—Technicolor noir, as Jonathan Ames put it."

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Erskine Childers
The Riddle of the Sands

In 1903, Erskine Childers did something profound: he wrote the world’s first great seagoing spy thriller. But The Riddle of the Sands opens so quietly that a reader might think that Childers himself didn’t know what he was creating.

As the novel begins, it is late September, and its protagonist – who goes by the name Carruthers to conceal his true identity – is stuck in London. It’s an especially lonely season, he tells us. His friends (for what they’re worth) are on holiday, and due to “a caprice on the part of a remote and mighty personage,” he is left at his desk in the Foreign Office to do work that

consisted chiefly…in smoking cigarettes, in saying that Mr So-and-So was away and would be back October 1st, in being absent for lunch from twelve till two, and in my spare moments making précis – let us say – the less confidential consular reports, and squeezing the results into cast-iron schedules.

Unfortunately, while he is slated to take a holiday, he has nowhere to go. He is, he tells us, “at the extremity of depression.” Frankly, Carruthers is so comically moody that the first chapter reads a bit like the opening to an especially cranky Jerome K. Jerome novel.

Two Men in a Yacht, anyone?

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Cornel Wilde's
The Naked Prey

"Wilde's masterpiece offers a subtle but powerful anti-war, pro-diplomacy argument, for those who look past the film’s vigorous joys of the chase."

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P.D. James'
The Lighthouse

"Her two most recent efforts may have been a little weak, but this time James has managed to produce a worthy new entry in the growing Dalgliesh library."

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Orson Welles's
F for Fake

"F for Fake, Welles tells us in its opening minutes, is about bigger ideas than simply one forger. It’s about trickery, fraud and lies – and, by extension, storytelling itself."

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