Patrick McGrath

  • Half a Rogue (1906) by Harold MacGrath

    For three years in a row, from 1907, Harold MacGrath had a novel on the best-seller list. Then he was heard from no more. The first is titled Half a Rogue. Written in a jaunty prose, heavy on the dialogue, it's driven by a relentless plot in which the reader's never in doubt as to whom to root for. It says much about its time, in both a literary and a political sense.

    The hero is Richard "Dick" Warrington, a successful New York playwright. He is the eponymous half a rogue. He bears a strong resemblance, at first, to a certain whole rogue: Dorian Gray. Wilde's scandalous novel had appeared

  • Uprisings from the Past

    Aleksandar Hemon’s The Lazarus Project opens in Chicago in 1908, when a young Jewish immigrant called Lazarus Averbuch, an alleged anarchist and follower of Emma Goldman, enters the home of the chief of police and is shot dead. The narrator is Vladimir Brik, a Bosnian-American writer, and the spine of the story is his quest, almost a hundred years later, to unearth the truth about the death of Averbuch.

    But truth is relentlessly problematic in Hemon’s work. His first book, a collection called The Question of Bruno (2000), concludes with the story “Imitation of Life.” Its subject, one to which

  • Reflections


    Adapting a work of fiction can have its disappointments for a director. Presumably, when you set out to turn a favorite novel into a film, it’s mostly because of the wonderful scenes that you look forward to shooting; taken all together, they are the reason for making the film in the first place. Once committed to the project, you duly transfer the scenes to the screenplay, and in pleasurable anticipation, you round up the right actors. But, it turns out during shooting, despite all your enthusiasm and planning, you discover too late that you have not carefully thought through