fri 24/02/2017

book reviews of books about culture

Sunday Book: Zadie Smith - Swing Time

Boyd Tonkin

In his lovely memoir My Father’s Fortune, Michael Frayn dubs the Holloway and Caledonian Roads the “Tigris and Euphrates” of his family history. In that case, just a few pages west...

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Sunday Book: Elena Ferrante - Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey

Arifa Akbar

The 2003 first, Italian edition of La Frantumaglia begins with words from Elena Ferrante’s publisher, Edizioni E/O, about why the book of collected writings was published: “To satisfy the...

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Sunday Book: Haruki Murakami - Absolutely on Music

Boyd Tonkin

Every fan of his fiction knows that Haruki Murakami loves jazz and lets the music play throughout his books. Yet in this 320-page dialogue between the novelist and his equally eminent compatriot,...

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Sunday Book: Alan Bennett - Keeping On Keeping On

Liz Thomson

To settle down on a darkening evening with a new volume of Alan Bennett is to be in the company of an old friend. Someone you don’t see as often as you’d like but with whom you immediately pick up...

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Harriet Walter on Brutus and Other Heroines

Harriet Walter

A part we have played is like a person we once met, grew to know, became intimately enmeshed with and finally moved away from. Some of these characters remain friends, others are like ex-lovers...

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Sunday Book: I Am Brian Wilson

adam Sweeting

For decades Brian Wilson was depicted as the mad, lost genius of the Beach Boys, but these days, at 74, he's looking more like one of pop's great survivors. After all, he has comprehensively...

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Sunday Book: Carlo Rovelli - Reality Is Not What It Seems

Peter Forbes

Scientists today tend to patronise the early Greek philosophers who, 2500 years ago, inaugurated enquiry into the nature of things. The Atomic Theory? A lucky guess, they allege. But Carlo Rovelli...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Garrison Keillor

jasper Rees

It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, and has been for the past 42 years, ever since Garrison Keillor first reported on the town's goings-on in his weekly radio show A Prairie Home Companion...

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Who was St Clair Bayfield?

jasper Rees

This week Stephen Frears's film about Florence Foster Jenkins opens. It will bring to the widest attention yet the story of a New York socialite who couldn’t sing and yet did sing, infamously, to...

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Søren Dahlgaard’s Dough Portraits

theartsdesk

Can a portrait really be a portrait if we can’t see a person’s face? And what if the reason we can’t see their face is that it is covered with a lump of dough? Is it a joke? And if it is a joke,...

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latest in today

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Young Vic

“The nine men’s morris is filled up with mud, and the quaint mazes in the wanton green for lack of tread are undistinguishable.” Titania may mourn...

The Swingers, Channel 4

Can something be gained in translation? As a title, The Swingers promises much. Much more than the original Dutch title Nieuwe Buren...

Farewell, Stanisław Skrowaczewski (1923-2017)

Bruckner conductors improve with age: Haitink, Blomstedt, Gielen – octogenarians all. But Stanisław Skrowaczewski went further, conducting his...

DVD/Blu-ray: Train to Busan

With its familiar scenario of massed zombies on the offensive against the living, South Korean blockbuster Train to Busan stands or falls...

The Best Plays in London

London is the theatre capital of the world, with more than 50 playhouses offering theatrical entertainment. From the mighty National Theatre to...

Twelfth Night, National Theatre

Everybody’s a little bit gay in Simon Godwin’s giddy new Twelfth Night at the...

America After the Fall, Royal Academy

It may be a cliché to say that this is a “timely” exhibition, but America After the Fall invites irresistible parallels with...

The Girls, Phoenix Theatre

Why? That's the abiding question that hangs over The Girls, the sluggish and entirely pro forma Tim Firth-Gary Barlow...

Roots, BBC Four

Those of us who saw the first, 1977 TV adaptation of Alex Haley's Roots in our teens still remember the shock and horror at its handling...

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