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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 12 November, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: Power, hate, betrayal - the killing of Isabel Carrasco

Grab a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. The assassination of Isabel Carrasco

carrusco Source: aoife

In 2014, Spanish politician Isabel Carrasco was murdered on a bridge in the city of Léon. At the time of her death, she was “one of the most controversial and feared politicians” in the country. So who killed her?

(The Guardian, approx 28 mins reading time)

Not everyone was dismayed by the assassination. “There was shock, but not much sadness. You didn’t hear people saying: ‘Poor her’,” said Zamora. The list of her enemies was so long, some joked, that the police would never find the killer. It had sometimes been said that the only way to unseat Carrasco would be to murder her. Nobody had meant it seriously, but now it seemed that someone had taken it that way.

2. Meeting the Vatican exorcist

William Friendkin wrote the book The Exorcist – but until recently, he had never seen one in real life. Then he met the Vatican exorcist.

(Vanity Fair, approx 28 mins reading time)

At exactly three P.M. he began to conduct the ritual of exorcism. The possessed woman, Rosa, was in her late 30s, tall and slender, with raven-black hair. She was as dark and attractive as an Italian movie star—Sophia Loren or Silvana Mangano, with a quiet demeanor. She had a college degree but couldn’t work because of the fits and behavioral changes that came over her, most severely on the Christian holidays, such as Palm Sunday, Ash Wednesday, Easter, and Pentecost. This was her ninth exorcism with Father Amorth.

3. The terrible triathlons

shutterstock_439034461 Source: Shutterstock/Pavel1964

Last week, the Dublin marathon took place – but meet the people who take part in the Quintuple Anvil Triathlon, which involves five Ironman-length races across five days. That’s got to hurt.

(New Yorker, approx 20 mins reading time)

Most were middle-aged, most had grown children who would not miss them much in the long hours of training, and most had supportive spouses and family members — in some cases triathletes themselves. Some of those family members came to watch their loved ones destroy their bodies, if not their minds, for nearly a week because … because … why? “If you have to ask,” more than a few racers replied, “you will never know.”

4. The ultra gym

Equinox Gym is not for you or I – it’s for very, very elite people in New York who have money to burn. This article looks into the incredible secret E club.

(Vanity Fair, approx 16 mins reading time)

And yet if you ask E club members about the place’s numerous luxuries, they’ll profess an almost Buddhist indifference. The retina scanner, the private cabanas, the pristine environs—they’re all nice, but they’re not the thing. When I make the mistake of gushing about them in front of one E clubber—a 58-year-old semi-retired executive of a private intelligence firm—he corrects me solemnly, like he’s re-orienting a compass: “The journey of Equinox,” he says, “the fitness journey, is a journey into self-discovery.

5. Manchester by the Sea 

Manchester by the Sea Official Trailer 1 (2016) - Casey Affleck Movie Source: Movieclips Trailers

Kenneth Lonergan, the writer of upcoming movie Manchester By the Sea (and of Analyze This), was convinced to write the film by Matt Damon. Here, he talks about his work, and the professional anguish that came with a film that tanked – despite perhaps being his best work. It’s a read for anyone who is interested in a creative life, and all the highs and lows that come with it.

(New Yorker, approx 40 mins reading time)

When Margaret was finally released, in September, 2011, it was the two-and-a-half-hour version that Lonergan had delivered in 2008. It opened in just two theatres, with little publicity. “The movie was dumped,” Mathew Rosengart, Lonergan’s lawyer, says. “Having gone through it, and him really believing it was his masterpiece, and having it be doomed, was devastating.”

6. What Beyoncé taught me

Zadie Smith writes about dance, writing, high art and popular culture as only she can.

(The Guardian, approx 21 mins reading time)

When I write I feel there’s usually a choice to be made between the grounded and the floating. The ground I am thinking of in this case is language as we meet it in its “commonsense” mode. The language of the television, of the supermarket, of the advert, the newspaper, the government, the daily “public” conversation. Some writers like to walk this ground, recreate it, break bits of it off and use it to their advantage, where others barely recognise its existence. Nabokov – a literal aristocrat as well as an aesthetic one – barely ever put a toe upon it. His language is “literary”, far from what we think of as our shared linguistic home.


Richard_Brautigan_photo Source: Wikimedia

Writer Richard Brautigan took his own life, and after he died his friends gathered to pay tribute to him. This Rolling Stone article from 1985 tells the story of Brautigan’s life and death.

(Rolling Stone, approx 39 mins reading time)

His friends remembered when Richard became famous. It was the year the hippies came to San Francisco. Richard had published one novel, A Confederate General from Big Sur, but it had sold miserably — 743 copies — and his publisher, Grove Press, had dropped its option on Trout Fishing in America. Donald Allen was the West Coast representative of Grove and the editor of the Evergreen Review, which had introduced the Beat Generation. Allen had a small nonprofit press called the Four Seasons Foundation, and he decided to publish the book himself. Allen sold 29,000 copies of the book before Delacorte bought it. Eventually, 2 million copies were sold.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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