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Sue N ichterlein: Letter from N evv York

The crisp clear days of September gave way to haze, rain and eventually snow by mid-October. Will a foreshortened fall presage another severe winter? Did the nuclear 'accident' at Three Mile Island in April confirm what everyone will tell you - the weather patterns are changing.

At least the snow will deaden the noise and bury the garbage. Every year when New Yorkers return from their dachas on Fire Island or in the Hamptons, or come back from France and rural England, it is the noise and the dirt which assaults their temporarily rested sensibilities . We have done our bit for community rights on Professors' Row written off letters of complaint to the Interchurch Center up the road, that bastion of the Protestant churches in America that persists in having its garbage collected by industrial sanitation trucks that chew the paper on the spot, between the hours of two and four in the morning. And we have challenged the .owner of the moog electronic synthesizer to control his children or else. The noise was more tolerable on the edge of Spanish Harlem - at least salsa has rhythm.

The scaffolding is still up around Columbia's many buildings on Broadway. Three months ago a Barnard College student was killed by a falling chunk of masonry. It was only four pounds; the piece that fell off our building was 56 pounds but it landed in the roadway between cars.

The rubbish on Broadway accumulates because the city cannot afford to have i t collected regularly. The merchants have no will to organise to clean it up themselves. The people who live on Broadway - the winos, the drug addicts and dealers, the pimps and their prostitutes, the shopping bag ladies who make their homes in the doorways and on the median strip - will still be there in the winter, but the snow will hide the debris for a while until it too turns to slush.

The Pope came to New York on Yom Kippur. I t rained during his homily at Battery Park, and all the people were able to see as they lined Fifth Avenue were the big black limousines followed by 40 police cars. In one of the limousines a burly figure was sometimes visible under an umbrella, standing through the sunroof.

Castro came too. A huge security operation was mounted at the United Nations , which was closed for the first time in years to tourists. And at the Cuban Embassy and Missio'n to the United Nations, the Cubans with guns were complemented by the New York Police Department detachment, each surveilling the other and those of us who had occasion to walk down the street. In the event, the greatest security risk in the time before Castro arrived was the disgruntled counterfeiter who buzzed the United Nations Secretariat and the offices of . Harcourt Brace Jovanovich because of editorial cuts to his Confessions of a Promiscuous Counterfeiter. United Nations personnel had .to be evacuated from their building for the first time in the organisation's history, some of them having to walk the 32 floors bec.ause the emergency elevators became overcrowded. The New York Post headlined Castro's arrival: CASTRO BRINGS HIS POLICE STATE TO 39TH STREET. But arguably the most riveting Post headline this week was 'Surgeons reattach girl's nose after dog swallows it.'

The seating of the Pol Pot delegation

Contents First Novels: A. S. Byatt ... .............. 8 Creative Writing in the Universities: David Lodge .................................... 6

The Dublin Festival: Maev Kennedy .................................................. ...... ... 18 Frankfurt: An Innocent at the Fair: Norman Lebrecht ............................. ,5 Letter from New York: Sue Nlchterleln .................................................... 2 Rome Diary: Graham Sells ............ 24 Two London Art Exhibitions: Krzysztof S. Cleszkowski .............• 23 Sunday Morning: A Short Story by T. E. Apter ....................................... 28

Reviews Allen, Charles: Tales from the Dark Continent (John D. Hargreaves) ... 27 Bennet, Tony: Formalism and Marxism (Bernard Sharratt) ........... 13 Boulton, James T.: The Letters of D. H. Lawrence, Volume I 1901 - 13 (Stephen Gill) ··'································12

Carr, Raymond, and J. P. Fusi Aizpurua: Spain: Dictatorship to Democracy (Salvador Giner) ......... 27 Davis, John A., ed: Gramsci and Italy"s Passive Revolution (Alan Sked) ..................... ...... ............. ......... 25 Didion, Joan: The White Album (Jonathan Webb) .............................. 3 Doyle, Richard: In Fairyland (Mary Cadogan) ........................................ 30 Graff, Gerald, ed: Literature Against Itse(f(Charles Swann) .................... 14 Graves, Richard Perceval: A. E. Housman, The Scholar-poet (P. N. Furbank) .......................................... 11 Grimm, Fairy Tales: (Mary Cadogan) ........................................ .30 Holme, Bryan: The Kate Greenaway Book (Mary Cadogan) ................... .30 Hughes, Ted: Moortown (Keith Sagar) ............. ... ......................... ..... 16 Lesley, Cole, Graham Payn and Sheridan Morley: Noel Coward and His Friends (Mary Cadogan) ......... 30

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McLean, A. D., ed: Best for Winter (Charles Palliser) ................... ........... 9 Medina, Angel: Reflection, Time and the Novel (Christopher Norris) ...... 15 Robinson, Duncan: Stanley Spencer (Jennifer Fletcher) ...........................21 Usborne, Richard, ed: Vintage Wodehouse (Mary Cadogan) ................... 30 Watson, G. J.: Irish Identity and the Literary Revival (Stan Smith) ........ 20 Woolf, Stuart: A History of Italy 1700-1800 (Alan Sked) ................... 25 Yeats, W. B.: Representative Irish Tales (Robert Greacen) .................. .19

Address for contributions: The Literary review, 7 Northumberland Street, Edinburgh EH3 6LL. All unsolicited mss should be accompanied by sae.

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