More from Books

Is there anything left worth joking about?

28 November 2020 9:00 am

Here are a couple of books that seek to tackle the difficult issue of comedy on the front line. One…

No writer was better suited to chronicle the Depression than John Steinbeck

28 November 2020 9:00 am

John Steinbeck didn’t believe in God — but he didn’t believe much in humanity either. When push came to shove,…

When sedition was rife in 18th-century London

28 November 2020 9:00 am

Researching the seditious literature of earlier periods is seldom suspenseful, pulse-quickening work. For every thrill of archival discovery, there are…

An unquiet life: There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job, by Kikuko Tsumura, reviewed

28 November 2020 9:00 am

Kikuko Tsumura is a multi-prizewinning Japanese author whose mischievously deceptive new novel takes us into what purports to be the…

Alasdair Gray gives us a vivid new Paradiso

28 November 2020 9:00 am

As every Italian schoolchild knows, The Divine Comedy opens in a supernatural dark wood just before sunrise on Good Friday…

Animal magic: children’s books for Christmas

28 November 2020 9:00 am

J.K. Rowling has written a book for children — and you know what? It’s a charmer. The Ickabod(Hachette, £20) was…

Four German-speaking philosophers in search of a theme

28 November 2020 9:00 am

How do you write a group biography of people who never actually formed a group? Such is the challenge Wolfram…

Suicide was always a spectre for John Berryman

28 November 2020 9:00 am

‘A matter that hurts me is that I have made many hundreds of people laugh, in various cities, during the…

Cheering for Jürgen Klopp: Liverpool FC’s manager can do no wrong

21 November 2020 9:00 am

As his biographer, I feel obliged to quote John Updike’s wise sayings — among them the first rule in his…

A closing of ranks: The Searcher, by Tana French, reviewed

21 November 2020 9:00 am

If the homage wasn’t clear from the title, Tana French makes sure throughout The Searcher, her seventh novel and second…

Poise and wit: The Collected Stories of Shirley Hazzard reviewed

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Shirley Hazzard was in her late twenties when, in 1959, somewhat diffidently, she submitted her first short story to the…

High-speed trains, planes and automobiles are increasingly redundant

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Should the world be faster or slower? This is a question relevant to global economics, politics and culture. But not…

Sunshine on a plate: the year’s best cookbooks

21 November 2020 9:00 am

In the dark days of a terrible winter, Elizabeth David began writing her first book, about Mediterranean food. The timing…

A brutal education: At Night All Blood is Black, by David Diop, reviewed

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Alfa Ndiaye, a Senegalese soldier fighting for France in the trenches of the Great War, is consumed by bloodlust, which…

Tortured youths: how childhood misery often makes for genius

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Greatness. Genius. Can you bottle it? Is there a formula? Inspired by his Radio 4 series Great Lives, Matthew Parris…

Claire Messud helps us see the familiar with new eyes

21 November 2020 9:00 am

The title of this collection of journalism is a problem. Not the Kant’s Little Prussian Head bit, which, though opaque,…

Things mankind was not supposed to know — the dark side of science

14 November 2020 9:00 am

One day someone is going to have to write the definitive study of Wikipedia’s influence on letters. What, after all,…

The autistic mind could hold the key to the future

14 November 2020 9:00 am

An old, cynical adage holds that ‘if all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail’. I remembered…

Masculinity in crisis: Men and Apparitions, by Lynne Tillman, reviewed

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Masculinity, we are often told, is in crisis. The narrator of Men and Apparitions, Professor Ezekiel (Zeke) Stark, both studies…

Humiliating the IRA was a fatal mistake

14 November 2020 9:00 am

It was said that Reginald Maudling, as home secretary, once boarded a plane in Belfast and immediately requested a stiff…

Driven to distraction — the unhappy life of Vivien Eliot

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Do you think your mother slept with T.S. Eliot? That was the question I needed to ask the 98-year-old in…

Gardening books for Christmas — reviewed by Ursula Buchan

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Dan Pearson is one of the finest of all British garden designers, blessed with sensitivity, a wonderful eye, deep plant…

Universities are supposed to encourage debate, not strangle it

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Liberal values are under attack on two flanks. Those of us who think extensive freedom of expression, universal human rights…

The courage of a madman: Maurice Wilson’s doomed assault on Everest

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Reinhold Messner, the first person to climb all 14 of the planet’s peaks higher than 8,000 metres, is probably the…

From light into darkness: the genius of Goya

14 November 2020 9:00 am

The great Spanish artist Francisco Goya was born in Zaragoza in 1746, the son of a gilder whose livelihood was…