fri 08/12/2023

book reviews and features

Mathias Énard: The Annual Banquet of the Gravediggers' Guild review - a man of infinite death

Issy Brooks-Ward

‘Death, as a general statement, is so easy of utterance, of belief’, wrote Amy Levy, ‘it is only when we come face to face with it that we find the great mystery so cruelly hard to realise; for...

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Anne Michaels: Held review - one story across time

Lucy Thynne

Near the end of My Name is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout’s prize-winning 2016 novel, a creative writing teacher tells Lucy, ‘you will...

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Ishion Hutchinson: School of Instructions review - learning against estrangement

Leila Greening

School of Instructions, a book-length poem composed of six sections, is a virtuosic dance between memory...

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Jesse Darling: Virgins review - going straight

Alice Brewer

Self-described ‘intermittent poet’ and 2023 Turner Prize-nominee Jesse Darling said this in a recent interview for Art Review: ‘I...

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Justin Lewis: Don't Stop the Music - A History of Pop Music, One Day at a Time review - deft and delightful pop almanac

Bernard Hughes

This splendid book proves that trivia need not be trivial, and that a miscellany of apparently disconnected facts can cohere, if done well. It is in the proud lineage of the “toilet book”, a form...

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Adam Biles: The Shakespeare and Company Book of Interviews review - the old curiosity bookshop

Lia Rockey

Over 10 years in the making, The Shakespeare and Company Book of Interviews reflects its namesake in more ways than one.

To those familiar, it is paean and tribute to one of the...

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Charlie Porter: Bring No Clothes - Bloomsbury and the Philosophy of Fashion review - dress to impress

India Lewis

It’s not hard to miss the fact that Bloomsbury is back in fashion at the moment. This summer, it felt like everyone’s Instagram story showed a...

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Adam Sisman: The Secret Life of John le Carré review - tinker, tailor, soldier, cheat

Bernard Hughes

This book is quite a sad read. I had been looking forward to it, as a posthumous supplement to Adam Sisman’s 2015 biography of John le Carré/David Cornwell, which, at the time, quite clearly drew...

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Caspar Henderson: A Book of Noises - Notes on the Auraculous review - a call to ears

Jon Turney

Have you ever considered the sheer range of sounds? You may think of deliberate human efforts to move the air: music and song, poetry or...

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'The people behind the postcards': an interview with Priya Hein, author of 'Riambel'

Hannah Hutching

Priya Hein’s debut novel, Riambel, is an excoriating examination of Mauritius’ socio-political structures and the colonial past from which they have sprung. Centred around Noemi, a young...

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latest in today

Mathias Énard: The Annual Banquet of the Gravediggers'...

‘Death, as a general statement, is so easy of utterance, of belief’, wrote Amy Levy, ‘it is only when we come face to face with it that we find...

Monica review - sombre American drama

There’s a rich seam of folk stories about changelings, infants snatched from home and replaced with a substitute child, to the horror and...

Album: Cher - Christmas

I honestly never thought I'd add a Cher song to my painstakingly curated ...

Natalie Dessay, Philippe Cassard, Milton Court review - flas...

It could have been a winner: a charismatic star soprano of great emotional and interpretative intelligence, a top pianist given a little space to...

Album: Gregory Porter - Christmas Wish

The cat in the hat with the mellifluous voice delivers his Christmas Wish for the festive season, his first Christmas album, and it...

Paul Lewis, Wigmore Hall review - Schubert sonatas revisited...

A decade has passed since Paul Lewis concluded an endeavour of a kind never previously undertaken: to perform, over two and a half years and...

The Homecoming, Young Vic Theatre review - Pinter's dis...

As the audience enters, thick mist envelopes the thrust stage and jazz music fills the...

Blu-ray: Blackhat

The Boxing Day release of Michael Mann’s first feature in eight years, Ferrari, finally follows up Blackhat, a Chris Hemsworth-...

Kin, BBC One review - in Dublin's not-so-fair city

Folklore tends to depict Dublin as a convivial and picturesque city, with a bar on every corner full of revellers on wild stag weekends, but that’...

Voces8 Foundation Choir and Orchestra, Smith, Voces8 Centre...

There’s a game called Whamageddon, where people see how deep into December they can go without hearing “Last Christmas”. I’m like that, but with...

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