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July 31 , 2009

Ticks and Crosses


The fourth volume of Frederic Raphael's notebooks, Ticks and Crosses covers the years 1976 to 1978 with the sharp wit and provocative intelligence that made the earlier books an acclaimed success. Raphael observes the inner workings of film studios with the cool acuity of a classicist; he records his thinking on philosophy, Jewishness, and Greece ancient and modern, with the tough irreverence of a Hollywood operator. Among the pleasures of Ticks and Crosses are an account of a farcical summer afternoon spent floating down a French river on a lilo in the company of Shirley Williams; an alarming trip up the wrong (and by no means dormant) volcano in Guatemala; meeting Nabokov; taking part in Any Questions with Enoch Powell... The eminent are caught off-guard; aphorisms sparkle, and throughout, Raphael's love of French life and culture, his delight in the human comedy of social life, illuminate his unfolding chronicle.

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