Books

French Kiss-Off

29 January 2022 9:00 am

For decades the purpose of British settlement in New South Wales seemed too obvious to question. The American War of…

Pre-crime has arrived in China

29 January 2022 9:00 am

The idea of ‘pre-crime’ was popularised by Philip K. Dick’s story ‘The Minority Report’ and the 2002 Steven Spielberg film…

Scaling the heights: a woman’s experience of mountain climbing

29 January 2022 9:00 am

In her memoir Time on Rock, Anna Fleming charts her progress from ‘terrified novice’ to ‘competent leader’ as she scales…

Smugglers’ gold: Winchelsea, by Alex Preston, reviewed

29 January 2022 9:00 am

The atmospheric medieval town of Rye on the south coast still celebrates being a former haunt of smugglers, and on…

A guide to the apothecary’s garden

29 January 2022 9:00 am

On 23 May 1804, two months before his daughter’s wedding, John Coakley Lettsom threw open his estate in Camberwell. Some…

The BBC is trapped in its own smug bubble

29 January 2022 9:00 am

An incalculable number of trees have been hewn down recently in order to provide paper for people writing lengthy, largely…

Adapt or die: what the natural world can teach us about climate change

29 January 2022 9:00 am

Climate change may be the central challenge of our century, but almost all attention has focused on its consequences for…

What did the Russians make of Francis Bacon?

29 January 2022 9:00 am

The KGB might not have known much about modern art, but they knew what they liked. For instance, at what…

The women who challenged a stale, male philosophy

29 January 2022 9:00 am

Kathleen Stock describes how four women undergraduates in 1940s Oxford challenged an arid, modish philosophy

Dystopian horror: They, by Kay Dick, reviewed

29 January 2022 9:00 am

Her name has faded, but the British author and editor Kay Dick once cut a striking figure. She lived in…

Man of mystery: Not Everybody Lives the Same Way, by Jean-Paul Dubois, reviewed

29 January 2022 9:00 am

For Jean-Paul Dubois, as for Emily Dickinson, ‘March is the month of expectation’. A prolific writer, he limits his literary…

For Glasgow – with love and squalor: The Second Cut, by Louise Welsh, reviewed

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Never, never kill the dog. It’s rule one in the crime writer’s manual. Cats are bad enough, as I can…

The Georgians feel closer to us now than the Victorians

22 January 2022 9:00 am

‘The two most fascinating subjects in the universe are sex and the 18th century,’ declared the novelist Brigid Brophy when…

A tale of love and grim determination: Zorrie, by Laird Hunt, reviewed

22 January 2022 9:00 am

When Zorrie Underwood, the titular character in Laird Hunt’s deeply touching novel about an Indiana farm woman, is pregnant, a…

Rejecting the Raj: Gandhi’s acolytes in the West

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Madeleine Slade, born in 1892, was a typical upper-class Victorian daughter of empire: a childhood riding around her grand-father’s estate…

The dark story behind Bambi, the book Hitler banned

22 January 2022 9:00 am

The extent of Walt Disney’s grasp of the natural world remains unclear. After the Austrian author Felix Salten sold the…

The misery memoir of a devoted polyamorist

22 January 2022 9:00 am

The rules of sex can kill. In 1844 an angry mob shot Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, for his…

How the net finally closed on the Nazi henchman Andrei Sawoniuk

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Fedor Zan was 18, working on the river closing sluices, when, on a winter afternoon in 1942, he saw his…

The great Chinese puzzle: how to adapt the language to modern communication technologies

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Any student of Chinese will sympathise with the 17th-century Jesuit priest Fr Emeric Langlois de Chavagnac when he wrote: ‘One…

The women who changed American cuisine forever

22 January 2022 9:00 am

What is ‘immigrant food’? In America, the answer can be just about anything — from burritos to bibimbap to burgers.…

Confused lives: It’s Getting Dark, by Peter Stamm, reviewed

22 January 2022 9:00 am

The Swiss writer Peter Stamm’s inscrutable, alienated outsiders make bizarre choices to escape stifling mundanity. Their discontent suggests malaise, something…

Gay and abandoned: A Previous Life, by Edmund White, reviewed

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Edmund White’s new novel opens, somewhat improbably, in 2050. This imagined future, however, springs few surprises on the reader and…

Formidable woman of letters: the grit and wisdom of Elizabeth Hardwick

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Elaine Showalter celebrates the grit and wisdom of Elizabeth Hardwick

Communists down under

15 January 2022 9:00 am

When I was a fifteen-year-old student at Melbourne High School, I tried to join the Communist Party of Australia. One…

Celebrating Konstantin Paustovsky — hailed as ‘the Russian Proust’

15 January 2022 9:00 am

When is a life worth telling? The Soviet writer Konstantin Paustovsky’s six-volume autobiography The Story of a Life combines high…