sat 24/06/2017

book reviews of books about culture

David Sedaris: Theft By Finding review - comic literary talent of historic value

Matthew Wright

In a voice of distinctive, high-pitched nasal whimsy, comic essayist and memoirist David Sedaris finds humour with the precision of a mosquito after blood. British...

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Andrew O'Hagan: The Secret Life review – troubling tales from the online underground

Boyd Tonkin

Imagine that you come across a story by a journalist who, writing for the Daily Mail or The Sun, steals the identity of a real young man from a poor neighbourhood of south-east...

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Elif Batuman: The Idiot review - memories of student life and travels meander

marina Vaizey

University, anyone? Student days? If you were ever an undergraduate, who does not remember the simultaneous sense of dislocation and excitement, the feeling of the familiar combined with a heady...

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Peter Ackroyd: Queer City - London's gay life over two millennia

tom Birchenough

2017 is proving the year of celebrating queer. To mark 50 years of the decriminalisation of homosexuality, we...

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Evgeny Kissin: Memoirs and Reflections review - Russian education, European conviction, Jewish heritage

david Nice

"Generally speaking," writes Evgeny Kissin in one of the many generous tributes to those whose artistry he most admires, "the mastery of [Carlo Maria] Giulini is exactly what is dearest of all to...

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Hanif Kureishi, Brighton Festival review - a combative, funny and moving talk

nick Hasted

Hanif Kureishi and his interviewer Mark Lawson are both wearing black Nike trainers, and long professional acquaintance makes them as comfortable with each other as...

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Arundhati Roy: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness review - brilliant fragments of divided India

Boyd Tonkin

Just as in the United States, the quest among Indian authors in English to deliver the single, knock-out...

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Billy Bragg: Roots, Radicals and Rockers review - riffing on skiffle, and more besides

Liz Thomson

Wow! An unconventional opening for a book review maybe, but ‘“wow!” nonetheless. Subtitled "How Skiffle Changed the World", this is an...

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Muhsin Al-Ramli: 'During Saddam’s regime at least we knew who the enemy was' - interview

Rachel Halliburton

Saddam Hussein’s name is never mentioned in The President’s Gardens, even though he haunts every page. The one time that the reader encounters him directly, he is referred to simply by...

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Colm Tóibín: House of Names review - bleakly beautiful twilight of the gods

Boyd Tonkin

The news that Colm Tóibín has written a novel about Orestes, Clytemnestra, Electra and the whole accursed...

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Friday 23 June

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The Book of Henry review - staggeringly awful

It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a movie as staggeringly awful as The Book of Henry. If it was just a touch more shrill it could...

Terror, Lyric Hammersmith review – more gimmick than drama

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