fri 03/07/2020

book reviews and features

Catherine Belton: Putin’s People review - an instant classic

James Dowsett

In October 1991, Russian prosecutors gained access to the Communist Party Central Committee’s headquarters in Moscow’s Old Square. The offices had been sealed after President Boris Yeltsin ordered...

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Elizabeth Kay: Seven Lies review - can big-money debut match the hype?

Jasper Rees

Seven Lies is the debut novel of Elizabeth Kay, who under another name works as a commissioning editor...

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Don Winslow: Broken review - a staggering crash course in the possibilities of crime

Marina Vaizey

One of the masters of both mystery and thriller, Don Winslow’s latest volume is a reading bonanza: a collection of six crime-focused short novels (‘novellas’ feels too fancy for a writer so...

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Garth Greenwell: Cleanness review - pornography and high art

Markie Robson-Scott

Both Cleanness and Garth Greenwell’s award-winning first novel, What Belongs to You, are set in Bulgaria, with a gay American teacher as the anonymous first-person narrator (...

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Helen McCarthy: Double Lives - A History of Working Motherhood review – doing it for themselves

Gaby Frost

Want to enact mass social change? Make it about children. About their health, their prosperity, their future. Make it about men; their security, their wellbeing. Make it about society. What...

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Hilary Mantel: The Mirror & the Light review - magnificence must have an end

David Nice

Praise be to quarantine days for the chance to savour this, the crowning glory of the Wolf Hall trilogy - if not with the supernatural vigilance and attentiveness of Thomas Cromwell...

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Olivia Laing: Funny Weather review - essays on art, framed as antidote

Jessica Payn

Olivia Laing’s non-fiction has become well-known for the way it moves by means of allusive shifts, hybridity, and pooling ideas, making a roaming, discursive inspection of one broad primary...

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Souvankham Thammavongsa: How to Pronounce Knife review - neat finishes with loose ends

Daniel Lewis

There’s a sort of enduring mystery about short stories. They rarely have the reassuring arithmetic of poetry or – with apologies to Murakami – novelistic sweep of longer fiction. They don’t...

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Valerie Hansen: The Year 1000 review - the first globe-trotting age

Boyd Tonkin

In 1018, the Princess of Chen – a member of the Liao dynasty that ruled northern China – was buried in a treasure-filled tomb in Inner Mongolia. Excavated in the 1980s, her grave contained luxury...

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Mark Townsend: No Return review - a masterclass in journalism

Sarah Collins

When Amer Deghayes departed for Syria in a truck leaving from Birmingham, a worker from a youth arts organisation in Brighton had been trying to get in touch with him. She wanted to inform Amer,...

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latest in today

Album: Polly Scattergood - In This Moment

A decade ago, Polly Scattergood was Mute Records’ newest, most-likely-to signing and, while she never crossed over like similar unconventional...

Family Romance, LLC review - the chameleon blues

Werner Herzog’s appearance in The Mandalorian paid for this deadpan,...

Toast, Lawrence Batley Theatre online review - pungent adapt...

I knew what a Howard Hodgkin painting would look like before I ever saw one because of...

Les Blancs, National Theatre at Home review – triumphant rev...

Lorraine Hansberry’s debut, A Raisin in the Sun, was the first drama written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway, where it opened...

Theatre Lockdown Special 12: An American rarity, a British s...

Can this weekly lineup really now be three months old?  As we move towards at least some degree of relaxation on the social restrictions that...

The Opera Story: Episodes review - whimsical takes on lockdo...

The Opera Story is an enterprising set-up based in London and founded with a mission to commission and stage...

Lynn + Lucy review - a bruising tale of female friendship

British director Fyzal Boulifa makes his feature...

Birdsong, The Original Theatre Company online review – a gut...

Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks’ best-selling...

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Sky Atlantic review - the go...

American history of the 1930s and ‘40s suddenly seems to be all the rage on TV, cropping up in the reborn Perry Mason, Das Boot...

Storyville: Welcome to Chechnya, BBC Four review - trauma, t...

David France’s revelatory film may have been subtitled “The...

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