Geoffrey Fox

Reflections & Inquiries

Vicarious autobiography


Dora Bruder by Patrick Modiano My rating: 3 of 5 stars Gentle, thoughtful reflections on the situation of Jews in Paris during the German occupation, through the patient and persistent research of the scant surviving documents, plus the testimony of one surviving cousin, of a 16-year old, French-born daughter of Austrian and Hungarian Jewish immigrants, … read more »

The Pain in Spain: 2


Yesterday I gave all the reasons for which I think the campaign for separation of Catalonia from Spain has been dishonest, making impossible promises and ignoring the great differences in agenda of the very diverse groups involved in the campaign. BUT we also have to recognize that the campaign, and the emotion it has stirred, … read more »

The pain in Spain: Catalonia and the rest


Catalonia is not about to secede from Spain as a result of the October 1 referendum, nor probably ever, as the secessionist leaders surely know. But they have become so locked into their own rhetoric that they cannot retreat for fear of losing the support of the forces they have mobilized — which are not … read more »

The author haunts his tale of Palestine


Gate Of The Sun by Elias Khoury My rating: 5 of 5 stars “Umm Hassan is dead.” These are Dr. Khaleel Ayyoub’s first words to his only patient, the legendary hero of a dozen failed wars for Palestinian liberation, in Galilee Hospital in Shatila. But this isn’t a real hospital (scarcely any supplies or professional … read more »

Švejk as witness to barbarity


The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek My rating: 3 of 5 stars The garrulous Josef Švejk is Hašek’s device to observe and lampoon the disastrous, corrupt, horribly inefficient and pointlessly cruel army of the Austro-Hungarian empire in the Great War (1914-1918). Švejk’s affable placidity in even the most extreme circumstances makes him an uncritical … read more »