wed 28/02/2024

book reviews and features

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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Richard Schoch: Shakespeare's House review - nothing ill in such a temple

Lia Rockey

Richard Schoch, in the subtitle of his new book on Shakespeare’s House, promises something big: “a window onto his life and legacy.” To the disgruntled reader – pushed to the brink...

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Richard Dorment: Warhol After Warhol review - beyond criticism

Alice Brewer

2023 was a good year for Andy Warhol post-mortems: after Nicole Flattery’s Nothing Special, after...

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Best of 2023: Books

theartsdesk

From wandering Rachmaninoff to Ulysses tribute, or a poet’s boyhood in Dundee to sleeplessness and arboreal inner lives, our reviewers share their literary picks from 2023.

...

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First Person: novelist Pip Adam on the sound of injustice

Pip Adam

I know it rattles me, so I try to prepare for it. But I am never fully prepared for the noise.

The correctional facilities I have visited over the last 30 years are noisy places. A secure...

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Angela Leighton: Something, I Forget review - the art of letting go

Hugh Barnes

Half way through Something, I Forget, in a poem entitled “Returns”, and subtitled “Invasion of Ukraine,...

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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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latest in today

Cable Street, Southwark Playhouse review - engaging new musi...

Hot on the heels of Brigid Larmour’s updating of The Merchant of Venice to the East End in 1936, a spirited new...

Andy Parsons, Touring review - reasons to be cheerful...

In the middle of another age of austerity, a climate crisis and seemingly intractable international conflicts, it's cheering that a comic should...

Out of Season, Hampstead Theatre review - banter as bullying

One island off the coast of Spain has more cultural oomph than all the rest put together. I’m talking about Ibiza, the sun-soaked, music-happy and...

Album: Yard Act - Where's My Utopia?

The best popular music tunes into the zeitgeist. It can reflect cultural currents, encourage them, or enable the public to turn away and...

'Migrations' String Quartet Weekend, National Conc...

It was chance that the National Concert Hall’s weekend of quartet events featuring responses to war and refugees should coincide with the second...

Drive to Survive, Season 6, Netflix review - F1 documentary...

When the first season of Drive to Survive launched on Netflix in 2019, it was greeted with suspicion by some in the Formula One paddock....

Shifters, Bush Theatre review - love will tear us apart agai...

For the past ten years, Black-British playwrights have been in the vanguard of innovation in the form and content of new writing. I’m thinking not...

Così fan tutte, Welsh National Opera review - relevance redu...

We can’t do without Così fan tutte; it’s an irresistible masterpiece. But it’s a thorn in the flesh of modern directors, who...

Driving Mum review - a dark comedy that has you laughing out...

Hilmar Oddsson’s award-winning film Driving Mum is pitch-perfect. Jon has spent the last 30 years looking after his domineering mother....

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