tue 17/09/2019

book reviews and features

Martin Gayford: The Pursuit of Art review - devotion, distilled

Marina Vaizey

This is a book about experiences that go beyond reading about art. Martin Gayford’s 20 short essays about press trips and self-motivated travel concern meetings – in the flesh, in real time and...

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Margaret Atwood: The Testaments review - pertinent but lacklustre

Stephanie Sy-Quia

You will doubtless have seen the protestors who dress as Gilean handmaids to protest anti-...

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William Dalrymple: The Anarchy review – masterly history of the first rogue corporation

Boyd Tonkin

Serious historians don’t much care for counter-factual speculations. Readers, however, often enjoy them. So here’s mine. In 1780, the seemingly invincible forces of the East India Company had...

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A. N. Wilson: Prince Albert review - entertaining bio is a total treat

Marina Vaizey

Albertopolis! The Royal Albert Hall, the Albert Memorial and countless Albert Squares, Roads and Streets all commemorate Britain’s uncrowned...

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José Eduardo Agualusa: The Society of Reluctant Dreamers review - vivid visions towards a free Angola

Jessica Payn

Reality follows dreams in José Eduardo Agualusa’s latest experiment in quixotic political fable. The book opens with journalist Daniel Benchimol waking at the Rainbow Hotel in Angola’s capital,...

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Selina Todd: Tastes of Honey review – Salford dreams of freedom

Boyd Tonkin

In the late 1950s, a photo technician from Salford suddenly became “the most famous teenager in Britain”. Shelagh Delaney was 19 when she sent the script of A Taste of Honey to the...

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Karl Marlantes: Deep River review - growing pains of a nation of immigrants

India Lewis

Karl Marlantes’s Deep River is an all-American novel. And why should it not be? Marlantes is an all-American...

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Niall Griffiths: Broken Ghost review - Welsh visions of hope and loss

Boyd Tonkin

The trend-hopping taste-makers who run British literary publishing have lately decided that “working-class” writing merits a small dole of their precious time and cash. To assess how long this...

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Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World ed. Zahra Hankir review – journalism from the front lines

Sarah Collins

Many of the women in this pioneering collection of essays have faced unimaginable hardship in their pursuit of...

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The Collection: Nina Leger trans. Laura Francis – daring, direct and richly imagined

Jessica Payn

Jeanne – employment, age and appearance unknown, motives unknowable – is building a collection of penises. In street after street, she feigns dizziness; on the inevitable approach of a man eager...

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