wed 01/02/2023

book reviews and features

CLR James: Minty Alley review - love and betrayal in the barrack-yard

James Dowsett

CLR James came to London from Trinidad in 1932, clutching the manuscript of his first and only novel. He soon found work, writing about cricket for the Manchester Guardian, as well as a...

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Tabitha Lasley: Sea State review - a one-woman odyssey through UK oil

Daniel Lewis

Straight off the bat, Tabitha Lasley’s soon-to-be ex-boss points out the fatal flaw in her life-changing project. Jettisoning her job at a women’s magazine, a long-term boyfriend, a cramped London...

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Francis Spufford: Light Perpetual review - time regained

Boyd Tonkin

On 25 November 1944, a German V2 rocket struck the Woolworths store in New Cross at Saturday lunchtime. It killed 168 people. Francis Spufford’s second...

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Alice Ash: Paradise Block review - a matrix-like collection that reinvents the short story genre

Lydia Bunt

“Burglar alarms jangled through the empty hallways of Paradise Block.” In this ramshackle, lonely tenement, such alarms might be one’s only company. Yet, in this intricate collection of...

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Eddie S Glaude Jr: Begin Again - James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Today review - can America avoid the fire this time?

Liz Thomson

I suspect that the work of James Baldwin is not all that familiar to readers in Britain, perhaps not even to...

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Olivia Sudjic: Asylum Road review - trauma, barely suppressed

India Lewis

In Asylum Road, Olivia Sudjic's third book, everything is purposeful, each loaded gun introduced...

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Raven Leilani: Luster - portrait of the artist as a black millennial woman

Daniel Lewis

One of the finer episodes in Raven Leilani’s startling debut (which contains an embarrassment of fine episodes)...

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Mark Fisher: Postcapitalist Desire - The Final Lectures review - imagining the alternative

Daniel Baksi

Postcapitalist Desire: The Final Lectures is a collection of transcripts, recording weekly group lectures...

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Julia Bell: Radical Attention review - a clear rendering of our withering attention spans

Lydia Bunt

You go out for a walk and leave your devices at home; your head feels a little bit clearer. But when you get back and plonk yourself...

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George Saunders: A Swim in a Pond in the Rain review – Russian lessons in literature and life

Boyd Tonkin

Before he published fiction, George Saunders trained as an engineer and wrote technical reports. The Booker-winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo,...

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latest in today

Two Billion Beats, Orange Tree Theatre review - lively, but...

Do the right thing! But doing the right thing isn’t easy – especially if you are a teen. And a female teen who is being pressurised by your mother...

January review - the end is nigh in vampirised Bulgaria

At their best, horror movies reflect destabilisation caused by cracks in the social fabric. The crack indicated in the documentarist Andrey...

Album: Lisa O'Neill - All of This Is Chance

Lisa O’Neill is a part of the new wave of Irish contemporary folk artists, one that encompasses the likes of Lankum, Ye Vagabonds...

Leonskaja, Staatskapelle Streichquartett, Wigmore Hall / Sec...

It’s dangerous to claim a sense of absolute rightness about a musical performance; that could mean no more than responding to an interpretation...

Othello, Lyric Hammersmith review - Frantic Assembly's...

Frantic Assembly’s Othello, originally co-developed with the Lyric in 2008, is back in its third iteration, and it’s still not...

Blu-ray: The War Trilogy - Three Films by Andrzej Wajda

Watching these harrowing films in rapid succession allows us to watch a great...

Ólafsson, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - spirit of delight

This concert was advertised as the completion of an Elgar symphony cycle, though in the absence of the reconstructed Third, that meant the second...

Sound of the Underground, Royal Court review - loud and triu...

Ever been to a queer club? You know, drag cabaret night at Madame Jojo’s, or the Black Cap or Her Upstairs. No? Well, not to worry – the...

Gerhardt, BBC Philharmonic, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manche...

Ben Gernon’s calm and clear way of conducting an orchestra (something he once told me he’d observed in the work of his mentor, Colin Davis) is...

Album: Robert Forster - The Candle and the Flame

Reflections on how the past relates to now suffuse The Candle and the Flame. The album’s closing track is “When I Was a Young Man.” When...

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