thu 09/12/2021

book reviews and features

Thomas Hardy: Fate, Exclusion and Tragedy, Sky Arts review – too much and not enough

Harriet Thompson

Born in 1840, Thomas Hardy lived a life of in-betweens. Modern yet traditional, the son of a builder who went on to become a famous...

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Colson Whitehead: Harlem Shuffle review - period piece speaks to the present

Daniel Lewis

More than once, reading Colson Whitehead’s latest novel Harlem Shuffle, the brilliant Josh and Benny Safdie movie Uncut Gems from 2019 came to mind, which was...

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Sebastian Faulks: Snow Country review - insects under a stone

Lizzie Hibbert

Historical fiction – perhaps all fiction – presents its authors with the problem of how to convey contextual information that is external to the plot but necessary to the reader’s understanding of...

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Claire-Louise Bennett: Checkout 19 review - coming to life

Daniel Lewis

Like any good writer, Claire-Louise Bennett loves lists. Lists are, after all, those moments when words, freed from grammar’s grip, can simply be themselves – do their own thing, show off,...

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Christopher Clark: Prisoners of Time review - from Kaiser Bill to Dominic Cummings

Boyd Tonkin

Historians seldom make the news themselves. However, Christopher Clark – the Australian-born Regius Professor of History at Cambridge University – hogged headlines and filled op-ed pages in...

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Thora Hjörleifsdóttir: Magma review - love burns in debut novel from Iceland

India Lewis

Thora Hjörleifsdóttir’s Magma is certainly not an easy read. It describes, in short chapters...

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10 Questions for novelist Mieko Kawakami

Izzy Smith

Mieko Kawakami sits firmly amongst the Japanese literati for her sharp and pensive depictions of life in...

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Samantha Walton: Everybody Needs Beauty review - the well of the world

Nell Whittaker

In the opening poem of Samantha Walton's 2018 collection, Self Heal, the speaker is on the tube, that evergreen metaphor of capital's specific barrelling momentum. The tube "will...

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Test Signal: Northern Anthology of New Writing review – core writing from England's regions

Daniel Baksi

“On the Ordinance Survey map, it has no name”, writes Andrew Michael Hurley, of the wood that nevertheless gives its name to his essay. “Clavicle Wood” provides the first chapter in the ...

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Adam Mars-Jones: Batlava Lake review - pride and prejudice in the Kosovo War

Zehra Kazmi

For a slim book of some 100 pages, Batlava Lake by Adam Mars-Jones is deceptively meandering. The novella is narrated by Barry Ashton, an engineer attached to the British Army troops...

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Pages

latest in today

Album: Hiss Golden Messenger - O Come All Ye Faithful

Irrespective of its seasonal nature, the thread running throughout O Come All Ye Faithful is a mood of contemplation which could colour...

Madness and Squeeze, Brighton Centre review - enjoyable annu...

Madness frontman Suggs is asking the capacity crowd at the Brighton Centre if any of them are in school-age education. Quite a few are. There are...

Landscapers, Sky Atlantic review - Olivia Colman and David T...

In 2014, Susan and Christopher Edwards were jailed for a minimum of 25 years for the...

Album: Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Barn

Neil Young’s ornery spontaneity has resulted in a remarkable number of mediocre songs. His sketchy 21st century has conjured audacious...

You Don't Know Me, BBC One review - true love meets inn...

I sympathised with the prosecuting barrister when she put it to the...

Semenchuk, Skigin, Wigmore Hall review - compelling Tchaikov...

This winter's evening spent at Wigmore Hall, completely immersed in performances of songs by Tchaikovsky, was a delight.

Mezzo-soprano...

Shagged. Married. Annoyed. Live, O2 Arena review - popular p...

The lengthy ovation Chris and Rosie Ramsey received when they walked on stage at the...

Album: Various Artists - A Damaged Christmas Gift For You

Christmas albums can traditionally be slippery beasts with a whole host of quality control issues. This is not unlike the compilation albums that...

MacMillan Christmas Oratorio, LPO, Elder, RFH review – a new...

The shadow of the cross falls over James MacMillan’s manger. You may come for his work’s consoling, even transporting, beauty and mystery. It’s...

Measure for Measure, Sam Wanamaker Theatre review - this pro...

Measure for Measure may be the quintessential Shakespeare “problem” play, but just what has earned it that epithet remains a puzzle. Each...

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