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The Literature of the Pandemic Is Already Here

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Zadie Smith opens Intimations, which contains six short, beautifully structured essays written largely in her characteristically gleaming prose, by acknowledging, “There will be many books written about the year 2020: historical, analytical, political, as well as comprehensive accounts. This is not any of those—the year isn’t halfway done. What I’ve tried to do is organize some of the feelings and thoughts that events, so far, have provoked in me.” So, instead of social insight, which Smith admits is not yet available, she chooses self-organization. The turn inward is entirely logical, but the structuring impulse does not bode well.

To be fair, Smith’s opting for order is unsurprising. In fiction, she’s a master of structure and form. Traditionally, she has allowed greater looseness in her essays and criticism—I am thinking, for instance, of Feel Free’s shaggy, implausibly delightful “Meet Justin Bieber!,” which uses a pop-star meet and greet as an occasion to revisit Martin Buber’s I and Thou—but not in Intimations. Its essays are short, tight, and glossy: pleasurable to read, but coy and cagey with their fundamental subject, which is death.

Take “Peonies,” in which a startling, lush garden sets Smith thinking about human vulnerability to biology. In theory, “Peonies” acknowledges the creative and destructive primacy of nature over determination—which includes its primacy over art. To Smith, art and determination are nearly synonymous: “Writing,” she explains, “is control. The part of the university in which I teach should properly be called the Controlling Experience Department. Experience … rolls over everybody. We try to adapt, to learn, to accommodate … But writers go further: they take this largely shapeless bewilderment and pour it into a mold of their own devising. Writing is all resistance” to experience.

Of course, this is not true for all writers. Some seek to portray bewilderment rather than shape it into reason. Smith attempts to do the former in “Peonies,” but when it comes time for her to wrangle with the crushing confusion and helplessness that disease generates, she bails on her project. The coronavirus appears explicitly in “Peonies” only once, not named but described as our “strange and overwhelming season of death”—and the moment Smith mentions it, she arrives at her argument’s end. “Peonies” is a conventionally structured literary essay, which means, as we learn in high school, that its conclusion recapitulates its beginning. Rather than continue thinking about overwhelming death, Smith returns to the place where “Peonies” began: a flower garden, and the stifled yearning for disorder that it provokes.

“Peonies” is not the only essay in which structure helps Smith turn from death. “The American Exception,” a linear, op-ed-style argument, addresses death as a mass phenomenon, but never as a personal one. “Something to Do,” a reflection on why writers write even in crisis, reads like the first portion of a writing-workshop lecture. In “Screengrabs (after Berger, before the virus),” Smith returns to the section-heavy style of her 2012 novel, NW, in which neat, titled chunks of narrative replicate the unwillingness of her hyper-controlled protagonist, Natalie, to engage with emotion. But here, Smith is the one unwilling to engage.

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Radhika Apte reveals real reason why she got married

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Radhika Apte needs no introduction to Kollywood fans after her appearance as Superstar Rajinikanth’s wife in ‘Kabali’ directed by Pa Ranjith.  The intense actress impressed with her performance of a meek girl to a mother of a grown-up and especially her reunion scene with Rajini took the audience on an emotional ride.

Radhika is happily married to her British boyfriend Benedict Taylor who is a singer and she shuttles between Mumbai and London to balance her personal and professional life.

Radhika Apte in her most recent interaction with Vikranth Massey on social media from London has admitted that she does not believe in the institution of marriage.  When asked why she got married the talented performer replied that it is easier for married people to get a British visa and that’s why she and her man opted for it in 2012.

Radhika is currently chilling with Taylor in their London home during the lockdown and will soon start filming her next English film ‘Noor Inayat Khan’ in which she plays a spy based on a true story.

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Jacqueline Fernandez shares picture of her being in ‘happy place’

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Actor Jacqueline Fernandez is working on a secret project where she found herself in a ‘happy place’. Taking it to Instagram on Sunday, the 35-year-old actor shared a picture dressed up like a traffic police officer as she is seen laughing her heart out.

“How was everyone’s Sunday?? Fun project coming up soon! #myhappyplace,” wrote Fernandez along with a picture where she is also seen holding a coffee mug. The ‘Kick’ actor also shared a few Instagram stories of her getting ready for the upcoming project.

Recently, the actor extended gratitude to her fans after the number of Instagram followers hit the 46 million mark.

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Why an ‘active’ approach to risk modelling is key to navigating markets today

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Whether investors are aiming for a cautious approach or a riskier investment profile with the potential for higher returns, Architas’ Blended Fund range is designed to match a range of investor risk appetites. And like many asset managers, Architas predominantly uses two approaches to define asset allocation within the five risk bands used in the Blended Range – strategic and tactical.

Whilst risk model provider EValue’s quantitative approach to asset allocation takes into account the long-term performance of different asset classes and the likely future performance given current valuations, along with long-term measures of volatility and correlations with other asset classes. Yet as with most systems of its kinds, EValue focuses on the long term; it is unable to analyse short-term market movements and fluctuations. So whilst it would have seen that in Q1 2020 markets fell by a record percentage before rebounding, it will not be able to factor in the cost of the coronavirus and lockdown and its impact on markets. Similarly, it is not able to consider ongoing Brexit woes, geo-political trade wars or the outcome of the US election in 2020.

Click here for the full article and to access more about the flexibility of the Architas Blended Range by clicking on the box below.

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