sat 21/05/2022

book reviews and features

Joanna Walsh: Girl Online - A User Manual review - how 'beatifoul' it is to be online

Hannah Hutching

Scrolling to the top of my Twitter DMs, most of which are from close friends or acquaintances, I notice the message request section flash “1”. It’s a signal I usually ignore, having learnt from...

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Laura Beatty: Looking for Theophrastus review - adventures in psychobiography

Hugh Barnes

Laura Beatty is a kind of Shirley Valentine figure in contemporary English literature. A decade and a half ago she published an astonishing debut novel entitled Pollard about female...

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Emily St John Mandel: Sea of Tranquility review - time travel, pandemics and the simulation hypothesis

Markie Robson-Scott

Emily St John Mandel’s wonderful novel of 2020, The Glass Hotel, featured people and places from her...

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Scholastique Mukasonga: The Barefoot Woman review - remembering Rwanda before 1994

Hannah Hutching

To read Scholastique Mukasonga’s memoir, The Barefoot Woman, beautifully translated from the French by...

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Extract: Catching Fire by Daniel Hahn

Daniel Hahn

Daniel Hahn began his translation of Jamás el fuego nunca, a novel by experimental Chilean artist Diamela Eltit, in January 2021. Considering the careful, difficult but not impossible “...

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Alejandro Zambra: Chilean Poet review - from here to paternity

Boyd Tonkin

Time-honoured advice warns actors never to work with children or animals. Perhaps the literary equivalent should tell novelists not to invent other writers in their books. Especially poets. Unless...

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Extract: Where My Feet Fall - Going For A Walk in Twenty Stories

Duncan Minshull

I began work on Where My Feet Fall a few months into the pandemic of 2020. After lockdown was announced we all became better walkers, and the collection took on greater resonance.

...

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Marianne Eloise: Obsessive, Intrusive, Magical Thinking review - bargaining with the devil

Annabel Bai Jackson

No mental health condition has become quite as kitsch as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Its tacky shorthands – the hand washing,...

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María Gainza: Portrait of an Unknown Lady review – queens of the unreal

Boyd Tonkin

It’s no surprise that the theme of fakes and forgery appeals so much to writers, who traffic in plausible illusions and often believe (in María Gainza’s words) that truth is “just another well-...

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Salley Vickers: The Gardener review - nature has other ideas

Lizzie Hibbert

A garden is a space defined by its limits. Whatever its contents in terms of style and species, and however manicured or apparently wild its appearance, what distinguishes a garden from its...

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MØ, Heaven, London review - snappy, sexy and energized

“I live to survive another heartache/I live to survive another mistake,” roars a sold-out Heaven. It’s a new song but everyone seems to know it....

'How that music was created remains to me a complete my...

It has been a difficult couple of years for us in the world of opera, losing several of our most respected and admired colleagues who have...

Top Gun: Maverick review - Tom Cruise defies age and gravity

Only 36 years later, Tom Cruise is back with his eagerly-awaited Top Gun sequel (it was delayed a couple of years by Covid), and there...

The Father and the Assassin, National Theatre review - Gandh...

The young Indian man stepping towards us on the vast Olivier stage is unremarkable enough, slight and boyish in manner. When he speaks he is...

Album: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Dirt Does Dylan

I have to confess, it’s a long time since I’ve thought about the Nitty Gritty Dirty Band and a new...

I Get Knocked Down, Brighton Festival review - Chumbawamba s...

One effect of the film I Get Knocked Down, a playfully constructed journey around the life of Chumbawamba vocalist Dunstan Bruce, is to...

Berrut, ECO, Guzzo, Cadogan Hall review - Schubert with a sm...

I came for the Schubert and it didn’t disappoint. Which was...

The Innocents review - they're just playing

The Innocents made a splash at Cannes in 2021 and it’s easy to see why. The ...

Blu-ray: I Am a Camera

The first film rendering of Christopher Isherwood’s experiences in early 1930s Berlin, I Am a Camera has been restored and released on...

The House of Shades, Almeida Theatre review - Anne-Marie Duf...

Anne-Marie Duff blazes across the stage like a meteorite in Beth Steel’s excoriating drama about the changes sweeping through a Northern mining...

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