wed 12/08/2020

book reviews and features

Al Alvarez: 'If I drop dead this minute, I’ve had a ter­rific time'

Jasper Rees

We like to think of ourselves as a nation of eccentrics, but some take their patriotic duties more seriously than others. Al Alvarez –...

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Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey: She Said review – better than the movies

Stephanie Sy-Quia

October 5th in the United States is a day for righteous rage. In 2016 it marked the release of the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape in which Donald Trump made his now-infamous “grab them...

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10 Questions for author Martin Gayford

Marina Vaizey

Over the past four decades Martin Gayford, The Spectator’s art critic, has travelled the world, been published in an amazing range of print and digital publications and written more than...

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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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Cuba: Castro vs the World, BBC Two - turbulent life and time...

During World War Two, President Franklin D Roosevelt described the USA as “the arsenal of democracy”. Only a couple of decades later, Fidel Castro...

The Telephone, Scottish Opera/Cargill, RSNO, Søndergård, Edi...

Lockdown, perhaps more than any other time, has amplified how ...

New Music Unlocked 5: Biffy Clyro, Rave the Vote, Little Sim...

Although Metallica are screening a freshly recorded concert across America’s drive-in cinemas at the end of the month, we’re no nearer to actual...

Album: James Dean Bradfield - Even In Exile

One of the most evocative tracks on James Dean Bradfield’s second solo album is hardly his at all. The Manic Street Preacher takes “La...

Matt Haig: The Midnight Library review - an uplifting modern...

TW: This article discusses suicide, suicidal ideation, antidepressants and self-harm 

We first meet Nora Seed, “nineteen years before...

The Adulterer, Channel 4 review - atmospheric, addictive and...

It has taken a good half decade for the Dutch series ...

Blindness, Donmar Warehouse review - a beautifully haunting...

Wowee! Twenty weeks after the last time I set foot in a theatre, I...

Album: Tanya Donelly and The Parkington Sisters

It’s exciting to come to an album with no preconceptions and no context and find you fall immediately in love with it. Tanya Donelly is probably...

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