Books

It all started with Dracula

14 August 2021 9:00 am

The title of the journalist Paul Kenyon’s second book on crazy leadership, Children of the Night, leaves the reader in…

The musical gravy train: Leaving The Building, by Eamonn Forde, reviewed

14 August 2021 9:00 am

Musicians cast a long cultural shadow. Politicians may wield considerable power in their time, but although today’s young people are…

Lucy Ellmann is angry about everything, especially men

7 August 2021 9:00 am

Is Lucy Ellmann serious? On the one hand, yes, very. The novel she published before this collection of essays was…

An interest in the bizarre helps keep melancholy at bay

7 August 2021 9:00 am

Philip Hensher finds Robert Burton’s perception of the world and the human condition endlessly fascinating

The AI future looks positively rosy

7 August 2021 9:00 am

In the future, men enjoying illicit private pleasures with their intelligent sexbots might be surprised to find that even women…

The Cambridge Greek Lexicon is an eye-opener for classical scholars

7 August 2021 9:00 am

The great Latinist D.R. Shackleton Bailey was once said to have been pinned into a corner at a party and…

When family viewing was full of creeping menace

7 August 2021 9:00 am

Strange, really, that the scheduled output of traditional broadcasters became known as ‘terrestrial’ television, given that TV is an etheric…

Startlingly sadistic: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, by Quentin Tarantino, reviewed

7 August 2021 9:00 am

There’s no doubt that Quentin Tarantino is a movie director of brilliance, if not genius. But can he write? Well…

A true bohemian: the story of Nico’s rise and fall

7 August 2021 9:00 am

It is well established that artists are not always the nicest people. On the surface, the life of the model,…

Gay abandon: Filthy Animals, by Brandon Taylor, reviewed

7 August 2021 9:00 am

What does it mean to be a body in this world? It’s the question animating Brandon Taylor’s Filthy Animals. Our…

Heroes and villains of the pandemic in America

7 August 2021 9:00 am

The most alarming aspect of living in America is the recurring sensation that no one is in charge. This is…

To appreciate Finnegans Wake you must hear its sounds and rhythms

7 August 2021 9:00 am

‘How good you are in explosition!’ The first ever unabridged recording of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake is a monumental achievement…

The complex character of Tricky Dick

7 August 2021 9:00 am

In this Age of Trump, as we cast about for some moment in American history that might help us make…

Funeral gatecrasher: The Black Dress, by Deborah Moggach, reviewed

7 August 2021 9:00 am

Here is a rare dud from the usually reliable Deborah Moggach. Her protagonist, Pru, finds herself alone at 69 after…

Death and dishonour: The Promise, by Damon Galgut, reviewed

31 July 2021 9:00 am

If death is not an event in life, as Wittgenstein observed, it’s a curious way to structure a novel. But…

Why do anglers get so hooked?

31 July 2021 9:00 am

The other day a friend asked me what a lascar was. Fair enough: it’s not a word you come across…

What is the secret of Duran Duran’s durability?

31 July 2021 9:00 am

In my second year at secondary school we were all deeply envious of a girl named Judi Taylor because, obviously,…

The disappearing man: who was the real John Stonehouse?

31 July 2021 9:00 am

Craig Brown describes his various encounters with the MP who notoriously faked his own death in 1974

Prehistoric footprints in Norfolk set us wondering

31 July 2021 9:00 am

During the first lockdown last year, taking my lockdown puppy for our Boris-sanctioned daily walks, I discovered a love of…

The book as narrator: The Pages, by Hugo Hamilton, reviewed

31 July 2021 9:00 am

It is a truism that a book needs readers in order to have a meaningful existence. Hugo Hamilton’s The Pages…

On the run from the Nazis: a Polish family’s protracted ordeal

31 July 2021 9:00 am

Writers of memoirs are often praised for their honesty — but how do we know? I found I did believe…

Foucault was shielded from scandal by French reverence for intellectuals

31 July 2021 9:00 am

Consider the hare and the hyena. The hare, Clement of Alexandria told readers of his 2nd-century sexual self-help manual Paedagogus,…

A death foretold: the last days of Gabriel García Márquez

31 July 2021 9:00 am

In March 2014 Gabriel García Márquez went down with a cold. The man who wrote beautifully about ageing was approaching…

How two literary magazines boosted morale during the Blitz

31 July 2021 9:00 am

William Loxley’s lively account of ‘Bloomsbury, the Blitz and Horizon magazine’ begins with W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood emigrating to…

They weren’t all that pious in the good old days

31 July 2021 9:00 am

You need to be wary of being too flattering about English churches. As John Betjeman said: ‘Be careful before you…