Books

Victoria Wood: stiletto in an oven glove

17 October 2020 9:00 am

Even if you didn’t have an Auntie Dot in Cockermouth (the one who ate a raffia drinks coaster, mistaking it…

Behind the veil of secrecy: GCHQ emerges from the shadows

17 October 2020 9:00 am

The brilliance of GCHQ can now be recognised – and about time too, says Sinclair McKay

How the International Brigades were ‘thrown into the heart of the fire’

17 October 2020 9:00 am

During the Spanish civil war of 1936 to 1939, 35,000 men and women from around the world volunteered to fight…

Older and grumpier: A Song for the Dark Times, by Ian Rankin, reviewed

17 October 2020 9:00 am

By my reckoning, this is the 24th outing for John Rebus, Scotland’s best known retired police officer. One of the…

Dublin double act: Love, by Roddy Doyle, reviewed

17 October 2020 9:00 am

Far be it from me to utter a word against the patron saint of Dublin pubs, Roddy Doyle. Granted he’s…

‘I wonder about his humanity’: Malcolm McDowell on Stanley Kubrick

17 October 2020 9:00 am

Twenty-five years after making Spartacus, a parable of Roman decadence and rebellious slaves shot in California, Stanley Kubrick made Full…

Helen Macdonald could charm the birds out of the trees

10 October 2020 9:00 am

When Helen Macdonald was a child, she had a way of calming herself during moments of stress: closing her eyes,…

De Profundis: the agony of filming Oscar Wilde’s last years

10 October 2020 9:00 am

Philip Hensher admires a witty account of the horrors of modern film-making

Break-out and betrayal in Occupied Europe

10 October 2020 9:00 am

Für dich, Tommy, ist der Krieg vorbei. However, many British servicemen, officers especially, didn’t want their war to be over.…

Appearances are deceptive: Trio, by William Boyd, reviewed

10 October 2020 9:00 am

Talbot Kydd, film producer; Anny Viklund, American actress; Elfrida Wing, novelist; these make the trio of the title. Private lives…

Breakdown in Berlin: Red Pill, by Hari Kunzru, reviewed

10 October 2020 9:00 am

‘I was what they call an “independent scholar”’, confides the narrator of Hari Kunzru’s Red Pill, a middle-aged writer from…

Shock and awe — what should we make of our Viking ancestors?

10 October 2020 9:00 am

In June 793, a raiding force arrived by boat at the island monastery of Lindisfarne, on the Northumbrian coast. The…

Hitler’s devastating secret weapon: V2, by Robert Harris, reviewed

10 October 2020 9:00 am

After Stalingrad, Hitler desperately needed an encouraging novelty. Wernher von Braun, Germany’s leading rocketeer in the second world war, expertly…

Opposites attract: Just Like You, by Nick Hornby, reviewed

3 October 2020 9:00 am

Babysitters are having a literary moment. Following Kiley Reid’s debut Such a Fun Age, Nick Hornby is the latest author…

Julius Caesar’s assassins were widely regarded as heroes in Rome

3 October 2020 9:00 am

It’s not as if Julius Caesar wasn’t warned about the Ides of March. Somebody thrust a written prediction of the…

What the sonnets tell us about Shakespeare

3 October 2020 9:00 am

When Romeo and Juliet first meet at a party, their words to one another fall into the form of a…

A melting pot of mercenaries: Afterlives, by Abdulrazak Gurnah, reviewed

3 October 2020 9:00 am

‘That was how that part of the world was at the time. Every bit of it belonged to Europeans, at…

Full of desperate longing: Unquiet, by Linn Ullmann, reviewed

3 October 2020 9:00 am

The scrawny little girl with ‘pipe-cleaner legs’ wants to feel at home with her parents. But father and mother live…

Surrounded by sea and sky: the irresistible draw of islands

3 October 2020 9:00 am

Holiday islands, desert islands, love islands, islands of eternal youth, siren islands, islands filled with screaming demons. Of all the…

The ‘unremarkable’ life of SS officer Robert Griesinger

3 October 2020 9:00 am

In October 2011 Daniel Lee was at a dinner party at which a Dutch woman told a disturbing story. It…

A cat’s-eye view of 18th-century social history

3 October 2020 9:00 am

Jeoffry is, by now, one of the best-known cats in literary history. And unlike the Cheshire Cat, Mr Mistoffelees, Orlando,…

We all love a poltergeist story

3 October 2020 9:00 am

There are fashions in the paranormal as in everything else. Since the famous Enfield hauntings of the late 1970s, poltergeists…

Gazing heavenwards: the medieval monks who mapped the planetary motions

3 October 2020 9:00 am

We can probably blame George and Ira Gershwin. It was that brilliant duo who, in 1937, penned the memorable lyric…

Written in blood or bound in human skin: the world’s weirdest books

3 October 2020 9:00 am

Dennis Duncan enjoys some of the world’s most bizarre books

Ladies’ man: Tom Stoppard’s love life revealed

26 September 2020 9:00 am

Tom Stoppard is a non-stop genius of jokes – but many of them make his latest biographer uneasy, says Craig Raine