sun 21/04/2024

book reviews and features

Lisa Kaltenegger: Alien Earths review - a whole new world

Jon Turney

Our home planet orbits the medium-size star we call the Sun. There are unfathomably many more stars out there. We accepted that these are also suns a little while back, cosmically speaking, or a...

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Heather McCalden: The Observable Universe review - reflections from a damaged life

India Lewis

Artist and writer, Heather McCalden, has produced her first book-length work. The Observable Universe examines, variously, her familial history, the death of her parents to AIDS, and the...

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Dorian Lynskey: Everything Must Go review - it's the end of the world as we know it

Bernard Hughes

According to REM in 1987, “It’s the end of the world as we know it”. And while they sang about topical preoccupations – hurricanes, wildfires and plane crashes – they were really just varying a...

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Andrew O'Hagan: Caledonian Road review - London's Dickensian return

India Lewis

Andrew O’Hagan’s new novel, Caledonian Road, feels very much intended to be an epic, or at the very...

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Annie Jacobsen: Nuclear War: A Scenario review - on the inconceivable

Jack Barron

"[A]n unimaginably beautiful day": this was how Kikue Shiota described the morning of the 6th of August, 1945, in Hiroshima. The day was soon to change, unimaginably, as the city was blitzed by...

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Anna Reid: A Nasty Little War - The West's Fight to Reverse the Russian Revolution review - home truths

Hugh Barnes

During the Cold War, US presidents often claimed that the West and the Soviet Union had never fought one another directly. This observation...

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Tom Chatfield: Wise Animals review - on the changing world

Jon Turney

Consider a chimp peeling a stick which it will poke into a termite nest. It strikes us as a human gesture. Our primate cousin is fashioning a tool. Just as important, the peeled stick implies a...

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Sheila Heti: Alphabetical Diaries review - an A-Z of inner life

India Lewis

After a first read of the blurb for Sheila Heti’s Alphabetical Diaries, you might be forgiven for assuming that this is merely a gimmick.

The book does what it says on the tin: each...

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David Harsent: Skin review - our strange surfaces

Jack Barron

David Harsent has won a lot of prizes. From the Eric Gregory to the T. S. Eliot, he has carved out a literary career positively glittering...

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Brian Klaas: Fluke review - why things happen, and can we stop them?

Bernard Hughes

One day in the early 90s I accepted the offer of a lift from a friend to a university open day I hadn’t been planning to go to. I ended up attending that university and there met my wife, and if I...

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Music, when the singer’s voice dies away, vibrates in the memory. In the hypnotic new Irish horror film All You Need Is Death, those who...

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