sun 20/01/2019

book reviews and features

Magda Szabó: Katalin Street review - love after life

Katherine Waters

This is a love story and a ghost story. The year is 1934 and the Held family have moved from the countryside to an elegant house on...

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John Lanchester: The Wall review - dystopia cut adrift

Boyd Tonkin

John Lanchester’s fifth novel begins with a kind of coded warning to the reader – and, perhaps, to the author too. Freezing conditions plague life on the defensive wall – or “National Coastal...

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Best of 2018: Books

Boyd Tonkin

Reasons to be cheerful? A fortissimo blast of anguish and foreboding currently sounds from both those end-of-year round-ups that look back over the past twelve months, and the doomy previews that...

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Timothy Day: I Saw Eternity the Other Night review - heavenly harmony, earthly discord

Boyd Tonkin

In 1955, Sylvia Plath attended the Advent Carol Service at King’s College in Cambridge. Like countless other visitors, listeners and viewers before and since, she was entranced by “the tall chapel...

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Ed Vulliamy: When Words Fail review - the band plays on

David Nice

If you're seeking ideas for new playlists and diverse suggestions for reading - and when better to look than at this time of year? - then beware: you may be overwhelmed by the infectious...

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Boris Akunin: Black City review - a novel to sharpen the wits

marina Vaizey

It is 1914 – a fateful year for assassinations, war and revolution. The fictional Erast Petrovich Fandorin,...

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Global fiction: the pick of 2018

Boyd Tonkin

If you believe the bulk of the “books of the year” features that drift like stray tinsel across the media at this time of year, Britain’s literary taste-makers only enjoy the flavours of the...

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Matthew Dennison: Eternal Boy review – the banker who stayed forever young

Boyd Tonkin

In Ian McEwan’s 1987 novel The Child in Time, a high-powered publisher and politician named Charles Darke quits his posts, regresses to a child-like state, and frolics in the woods like a...

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Daša Drndić: Belladonna review - a tragicomic journey into Europe's darkness

Boyd Tonkin

Daša Drndić, the Croatian author who died in June aged 71, has posthumously won the second Warwick Prize for Women in Translation for her coruscating novel Belladonna. The award, set up...

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Dramatic Exchanges review - a brilliant slice of theatre history

marina Vaizey

Dramatic Exchanges is a dazzling array of correspondence, stretching over more than a century, between...

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