wed 01/12/2021

book reviews and features

Michael Caine: Blowing the Bloody Doors Off review - an actor's handbook, annotated by experience

Marina Vaizey

What a charmer! An irresistible combination of diffidence and confidence, Michael Caine is so much more than Alfie...

Read more...

Julian Baggini: How the World Thinks review - a whirlwind tour of ideas

Marina Vaizey

The intrepid philosopher Julian Baggini has travelled the world, going to academic conferences, interviewing scores of practicing philosophers from academics to gurus, trying to figure out and pin...

Read more...

Barbara Kingsolver: Unsheltered review - too many issues

Markie Robson-Scott

“When men fear the loss of what they know, they will follow any tyrant who promises to restore the old order.” Mary Treat, the real-life 19th-century botanist who is one of the characters in...

Read more...

Simon Sebag Montefiore: Written in History review - epistolary high points

Marina Vaizey

Humdinger! This is a totally brilliant idea for an amazing anthology, although the subtitle “Letters that Changed...

Read more...

Neil MacGregor: Living with the Gods review - focuses of belief

Marina Vaizey

Dip in, dip out, argue, agree and disagree: Living with the Gods is the newest manifestation of a rich multimedia format that keeps on giving, devised by that superb writer and lecturer,...

Read more...

Lavinia Greenlaw: In the City of Love’s Sleep review - curated lives

Katherine Waters


Iris is a museum conservator with a pair of pre-adolescent daughters and a failing marriage. Raif...

Read more...

Olga Tokarczuk: Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead review - on vengeful nature

Katherine Waters

In a small town on the Polish-Czech border where the mobile signal wanders between countries’ operators and only three inhabitants stick it out through the winter, animals are wreaking a terrible...

Read more...

Michael Hughes: Country review - epic troubles

Matthew Wright

Michael Hughes’ second novel, superimposing the post-96 Troubles on the story of The Iliad, rides a wave of Homeric re-tellings, with Pat Barker and Colm Tóibín having recently...

Read more...

Yuval Noah Harari: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century review - a sceptic's optimism?

Marina Vaizey

The bestseller Sapiens (2011, first published in English in 2014) by the hitherto little-known Israeli academic Yuval Noah Harari has sold enormously well, and justly so: recommended by...

Read more...

P.E.Caquet: The Bell of Treason review - the sacrifice of Czechoslovakia

Jasper Rees

It was 80 years ago next month that Neville Chamberlain returned with the good news of peace in our time...

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Paul Weller, Barrowland, Glasgow review - Modfather holding...

There was a brief lapse in this lengthy set when Paul Weller stood up from the piano, walked towards centre stage and then pivoted back the way he...

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn review - viral venom in Bucha...

Though sexual hypocrisy in modern-day Romania is the ostensible target of Bad Lack Banging or Loony Porn – a...

theartsdesk on Vinyl 67: Squid, The Beatles, Beach Riot, Bla...

The first of two December round-ups from theartsdesk on Vinyl runs the gamut from folk-tronic oddness to...

Album: Deep Throat Choir - In Order To Know You

Although it’s indirect, the overall feel of In Order To Know You points to where...

Final Account review - documentary confronting the last surv...

Do we need another documentary about Nazi Germany? Yes when it is as cogent and subtle as Luke Holland’s Final Account. Made over eight...

Stephen Sondheim in memoriam - he gave us more to see

It seemed impossible and yet, the other evening, while idly flicking through emails, I learned the unimaginable:...

Tchetuev, LPO, Larsen-Maguire, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne...

Even with a chill wind blowing from the Sussex Downs, this copper-bottomed Overture-Concerto-Symphony Sunday matinée was guaranteed...

Peter Robison: Flying Blind review – a story of decline and...

Thomas Pynchon’s saturnine '70s novel Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) begins with “[a] screaming [that] comes across the sky. It has happened...

Blu-ray: Out of the Blue

In an era when toxic masculinity has become a clichéd accusation to throw at any portrait of men behaving macho, it’s fascinating to revisit...