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An “immensely readable series of essays, whose value is in direct relation to the depth of the experience from which they are drawn.”

[This review of The Price of Experience will appear in a future issue of Race and Class]

HAZEL WATERS, Institute of Race Relations, reviews The Price of Experience: Writings on Living with Cancer
By MIKE MARQUSEE (London, OR Books, 2014), 106 pp. £8.00.

Why, I wondered, before I began reading, had Marqusee titled his collection of essays the price of experience, and not the cost? But I realised a price is something that you pay, with thought; it denotes value. A cost is extracted, willy nilly. And that thoughtfulness, that attention to exactitude, is evident in every page of this small, immensely readable series of essays, whose value is in direct relation to the depth of the experience from which they are drawn. It was, indeed, only after plunging through the essays themselves, that I sensed the force of the Blake poem ‘What is the price of Experience’ with which Marqusee prefaces his collection. Read more

Lo personal es político en el nuevo libro de Mike Marqusee

Spanish translation by Christine Lewis Carroll of the introduction to The Price of Experience

Lo personal es político en el nuevo libro de Mike Marqusee sobre vivir con el cáncer.

Cuando me diagnosticaron mieloma múltiple en 2007, prometí a mis amigos que no añadiría otro confesionario a los que ya existen sobre el cáncer. Tenía otros temas sobre los que escribir y seguramente nada que añadir sobre éste, ya amplia y completamente cubierto. Tenía que haberme dado cuenta de que fue una promesa imposible de cumplir.

Reconstruir las primeras fases de la enfermedad y el tratamiento (por mi experiencia es imposible separar la una del otro) es difícil para mí. Pero sí me acuerdo del día en el que oí por primera vez el diagnóstico ‘cáncer’. Read more

“An epiphany”

Mohan Rao reviews The Price of Experience for Economic and Political Weekly (India), August 16, 2014

Let me begin with disclosures: I know Mike Marqusee, and am a profound fan of his work. I loathe cricket, but read his book Anyone But England: An Outsider Looks at English Cricket (1994), a veritable political economy of cricket, with great joy and discovery. I deeply admired If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew (2010), a brave and difficult book to write. I have also read his columns in The Hindu, especially those on the kacheris he attended at the Madras Music Academy.

What an extraordinary American, with a passion for cricket and for Carnatic music! He has been a British citizen for a long time, travelling frequently to India and is a prodigious writer on a remarkably wide range of issues. What is more, he writes beautifully, with coruscating flourishes of history and of poetry, that I admire and envy. Read more

“Let others talk of glory, let others celebrate the heroes who are to deluge the world with blood…They know not what a cottage is. They know not how the poor live…”

Mike Marqusee’s latest column for Red Pepper celebrates William Frend, a radical who deserves to be better remembered.

Contending for the living
Red Pepper, August 2014

The 35-year-old Cambridge lecturer William Frend was putting the finishing touches on ‘Peace and Union’, his pamphlet on political reform, in early 1793 when the hostility between Britain and the revolutionary regime in France broke into outright war. At the last minute, he added two fiercely urgent appendices. Read more

Post-op report

Dear friends,

I’m back home after a week-long spell in the Royal London Hospital recovering from seven hours of surgery on my lower spine. The experience proved arduous, as grueling as it sounds, but the good news is that I’ve survived and should draw tangible benefit from it.

What happened was that the revlimid therapy which I had been taking for more than a year – and whose exorbitant expense I had written about – became ineffective, and as a result the myeloma lesion on my spine became active and angry. The pain running up and down the left side was doing me in and I was losing the use of my legs. Although there were risks and difficulties involved with the surgery, it did at least offer the possibility of getting to another period of relative stability and mobility and was therefore worth the effort. Read more

A different kind of cancer story

Bill Roberts reviews a memoir by a British socialist about another kind of struggle
Socialist Worker (US), July 15, 2014

THERE IS life after a cancer diagnosis. It’s not all pleasant, but as Mike Marqusee shows us in The Price of Experience: Writings on Living with Cancer, it is not necessary, or even healthy, to accept the enforced isolation of most treatment regimens.

Marqusee, who has already exceeded the prognosis for his multiple myeloma by several years, widens our understanding of what such a diagnosis means for the patient caught up in the complex world of the cancer industry. This is not a confessional cancer story, but a provocative examination of what having cancer in the 21st century can tell us about social relationships, and what an encounter with mortality might achieve. Read more