More from Books

An independent observer: Whereabouts, by Jhumpa Lahiri, reviewed

8 May 2021 9:00 am

After falling in love with Italy as a young woman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri broke with English and…

Stealing the story: A Lonely Man, by Chris Power, reviewed

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Robert Prowe has writer’s block. An Englishman reaching middle age, he lives in Berlin with his Swedish wife and their…

How the third world war was narrowly averted

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Nuclear weapons carry a payload of cold logic: if both sides have them, neither will ever use them. But in…

Water, water everywhere: Touring the Land of the Dead, by Maki Kashimada, reviewed

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Maki Kashimada won the 2012 Akutagawa Prize for Touring the Land of the Dead, the strange, unsettling novella that makes…

Life on Earth is too tame for eccentric American billionaires

8 May 2021 9:00 am

For many of us, Elon Musk is a hard man to like. He’s the richest man in the world (or…

It is impossible to imagine Henrician England except through the eyes of Hans Holbein

8 May 2021 9:00 am

‘Holbein redeemed a whole era for us from oblivion,’ remarks the author of a trilogy of novels set at Henry…

Even the Queen wasn’t spared Prince Philip’s bad temper

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Though the indefatigable Gyles Brandreth met and interviewed Prince Philip over a 40-year period, His Royal Highness managed to give…

The high and low life of John Craxton

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Charm is a weasel word; it can evoke the superficial and insincere, and engender suspicion and mistrust. But charm in…

From family home to mausoleum: the Musée Nissim Camondo

8 May 2021 9:00 am

The potter and author Edmund de Waal revisits familiar terrain at an angle in his third book, Letters to Camondo.…

Eliminate the positive: Come Join Our Disease, by Sam Byers, reviewed

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Sam Byers’s worryingly zeitgeisty second novel, Perfidious Albion, imagined a post-Brexit dystopia dominated by global tech companies, corrupt spin doctors,…

A meditation on everyday life: Early Morning Riser, by Katherine Heiny, reviewed

1 May 2021 9:00 am

There were many moments in Early Morning Riser that made me laugh out loud in recognition. An episode where the…

Stephen Hawking: the myth and the reality

1 May 2021 9:00 am

I could never muster much enthusiasm for the theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. His work, on the early universe and the…

Stalin as puppet master: how Uncle Joe manipulated the West

1 May 2021 9:00 am

Of the two dictators who began the second world war as allied partners in crime but ended it in combat…

Not just a trolley dolly: the demanding life of an air hostess

1 May 2021 9:00 am

Come Fly the World is not the book I thought I was getting. The slightly (surely deliberately) pulpy cover —…

Ice and snow and sea and sky: Lean Fall Stand, by Jon McGregor, reviewed

1 May 2021 9:00 am

Jon McGregor has an extraordinary ability to articulate the unspoken through ethereal prose that observes ordinary lives from above without…

Sun, sex and acid: Thom Gunn in California

1 May 2021 9:00 am

San Francisco is a fantastic place… it’s terribly sunny… I am having a splendid hedonistic time here… I find myself…

Puzzle Pieces: Cowboy Graves, by Roberto Bolaño, reviewed

1 May 2021 9:00 am

This might seem an odd confession, but the work of Roberto Bolaño gives me very good bad dreams. When I…

Steam trains make a comeback under the guise of heritage

1 May 2021 9:00 am

So far as most of us are concerned, steam trains vanished in a puff of smoke back in the 1960s,…

Despotic laws can — even should — be ignored, says Jonathan Sumption

1 May 2021 9:00 am

Jonathan Sumption has developed ‘many strange habits over the years’, he tells us disarmingly, and one of these is to…

Pilgrimage is beginning to resemble any other kind of holiday

1 May 2021 9:00 am

Hidden away in the Old City of Jerusalem is a tattoo parlour which has been serving pilgrims for the past…

Back in the magic land of Narnia

1 May 2021 9:00 am

C. S. Lewis’s enchanting Chronicles of Narniaseries has, in recent years, come under critical fire. It’s racist, sexist, colonialist; blatant…

Haunted by the soft, sweet power of the violin

1 May 2021 9:00 am

An extraordinary omission from Neil MacGregor’s A History of the World in 100 Objects is the lyre, the instrument closest…

The jab that saved countless lives 300 years ago

24 April 2021 9:00 am

This timely book celebrates one of the most remarkable women of the 18th century. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was so…

Marina Warner becomes her mother’s ‘shabti’

24 April 2021 9:00 am

There comes a time after the death of parents when grief subsides, the sense of loss eases, and you, the…

Alan Duncan rants about ‘idiot’ parliamentary colleagues and Britain’s waning influence

24 April 2021 9:00 am

As a budding political apparatchik, my first job out of university was as a junior parliamentary assistant to Alan Duncan…