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Walls go up after the Berlin Wall comes down

6 March 2021 9:00 am

In her 2017 travelogue Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe, the writer and poet Kapka Kassabova meets Emel,…

The robot as carer: Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro, reviewed

6 March 2021 9:00 am

The world of Kazuo Ishiguro’s new novel — let’s call it Ishville — is instantly recognisable. Our narrator, Klara, is…

Why autocracy in Russia always fails in the end

6 March 2021 9:00 am

Churchill was wrong: Russia is neither a riddle nor an enigma. Russians themselves concoct endless stories to glorify their country’s…

My father, the tyrant: Robert Edric describes a brutal upbringing

6 March 2021 9:00 am

In a career stretching back to the mid-1980s, Robert Edric has so far managed a grand total of 28 novels,…

Ghosts in a landscape: farming life through the eyes of Thomas Hennell

6 March 2021 9:00 am

Thomas Hennell is one of that generation of painters born in 1903 whose collective achievements are such an adornment of…

Why the first self-help book is still worth reading: The Anatomy of Melancholy anatomised

6 March 2021 9:00 am

Footling around on the internet recently, I stumbled on a clip of a young woman singing Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ to…

‘Britain’s Dreyfus Affair’: a very nasty village scandal

6 March 2021 9:00 am

It has been described as Britain’s Dreyfus Affair — the wrongful imprisonment in 1903 of a half-Indian solicitor George Edalji…

Savage aperçus: Fake Accounts, by Lauren Oyler, reviewed

27 February 2021 9:00 am

Lauren Oyler is viral and vicious. A critic with a reputation for pulling no punches, she is known for delivering…

Algeria’s War of Independence still leaves festering wounds, two new novels reveal

27 February 2021 9:00 am

In France, even the car horns yelled about Algeria. A five-beat klaxon blast — three short, two long — signalled…

All good friends and jolly good company: life with the Crichel Boys

27 February 2021 9:00 am

In the spring of 1945 three men pooled their resources in order to buy Long Crichel House, a former rectory…

Labour of love: producing the perfect loaf

27 February 2021 9:00 am

Wheat flour, and the bread made from it, has been a recurring cause of concern for the British for centuries,…

Hellcat on the loose: Samantha Markle rants about Meghan

27 February 2021 9:00 am

A while ago, Samantha Markle declared that her forthcoming book would be about ‘the beautiful nuances of our lives’. Was…

Joan Didion’s needle-sharp eye never fails

27 February 2021 9:00 am

Most collections of journalism are bad. There are two reasons for this: one is that they are usually incoherent and…

A Romeo and Juliet-like tragedy in Uttar Pradesh

20 February 2021 9:00 am

In the early hours of 28 May 2014 the bodies of two young girls were found hanging from the branches…

Gabriel Matzneff: the paedophile who hid in plain sight

20 February 2021 9:00 am

Until this book was published, Gabriel Matzneff was a respectable man. The French author may have written about his affairs…

The true diplomat considers the future more than the present

20 February 2021 9:00 am

The 17th-century diplomat Sir Henry Wotton said that an ambassador was ‘an honest man sent to lie abroad for his…

CIA spies lose faith

20 February 2021 9:00 am

With its grim John le Carré atmosphere, communist Eastern Europe in the late 1980s was a melancholy, out-at-elbow place. The…

A complex creation myth: Alexandria, by Paul Kingsnorth, reviewed

20 February 2021 9:00 am

‘Challenging stuff,’ my wife remarked, having alighted on the page of Paul Kingsnorth’s new novel in which a character named…

Reality and online life clash: No One is Talking About This, by Patricia Lockwood, reviewed

20 February 2021 9:00 am

Some writers — Jane Austen, for example — get to funny sideways, using irony and understatement. The American poet and…

Geology’s dry, rocky road

20 February 2021 9:00 am

There has been an argument recently on Twitter about how to do nature-writing. Should it involve the self? Should it…

When poison is the cure: examining today’s processed meat

20 February 2021 9:00 am

Who Poisoned Your Bacon Sandwich?is a much more sophisticated read than its lurid English title suggests. Guillaume Coudray’s book was…

On the track of a mysterious recluse: Maxwell’s Demon, by Steven Hall, reviewed

13 February 2021 9:00 am

This is not the age of experimental fiction — it’s Franzen’s, not Foster Wallace’s. That shift was on its cusp…

What does ownership of land really mean?

13 February 2021 9:00 am

At the end of the last century, Simon Winchester bought 123 acres of wooded mountainside in the hamlet of Wassaic,…

The cannibal feast: Mother for Dinner, by Shalom Auslander, reviewed

13 February 2021 9:00 am

Seventh Seltzer is a nice family man, working as a publisher’s reader in New York, who happens to come from…

Who in their right mind would choose to be a forensic psychiatrist?

13 February 2021 9:00 am

When police were called to a block of flats in north London at the beginning of 2002, they expected to…