Posts From Author: pantheon books

Can The News Make Us Better?

You’re back at work after a lovely long weekend. You log on to your computer. What’s the first thing you do? Check the news? Read on. In his latest book, Alain de Botton, who has made a career examining how we love, live and work, tackles one of the most ubiquitous yet under-analysed aspects of modern life. The News: A User’s Manual (Pantheon Books, 2014) sets out to expose the essentially weird and hazardous relationship we have with news. De Botton’s concern stems from a simple worry: given that the news is the dominant form of education for the world’s adult population, shouldn’t we be more concerned by its unselfconscious presentation of a simplistic worldview? After all, who hasn’t felt at times that the news is just depressing, unedifying, even boring? It affords us direct access to what de Botton calls “the crucible of human horror” without once acknowledging the flipside (“65 million people go to bed every night without hitting or murdering anyone”). It introduces us to a range of characters enviable for their looks, wealth and fabulous successes, then strikes them down for their hubris. It blows our tiny minds with fiscal stats no more truly comprehensible than the […]
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After the Fire, a Brilliant Debut Novel

“There’s some of us, yourself included I’m sure, have seen and borne witness to a number of terrible things. And as you’ll know, those things haunt a man.” — Klyde in After the Fire, a Still Small Voice by Evie Wyld Evie Wyld is the award-winning author of All the Birds, Singing, published by Pantheon earlier this month. Ahead of her appearance at next week’s Seriously Entertaining show, we returned to the past and her harsh, mysterious, brilliant first novel, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice (Pantheon, 2009). Mild spoilers lie herein. The novel’s title refers to a divine misunderstanding in 1 Kings. The prophet Elijah is camping out on Mount Horeb, where Moses received the Ten Commandments. He complains to God that he’s the last of the faithful. God suggests he go outside onto the mountain, where he stages a meteorological spectacular for Elijah: strong wind; an earthquake; “after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice”. And the voice says to him, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” The prophet repeats his gripe, betraying how little he has learned from this moment of revelation. It’s an appropriate touchstone, for Wyld’s tale is […]
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