wed 01/12/2021

book reviews and features

h 100 Awards: Publishing and Writing - other stories, other voices

Boyd Tonkin

If history repeats itself, better hope that it corrects its mistakes as well. This year’s nominations for the...

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Roger Scruton: Music as an Art review - how to listen?

Marina Vaizey

Hegel, Kant, David Hume, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Leibniz are all adduced, referred to, and paraphrased, and that’s just for starters. Add Rameau, Schubert, Beethoven, Benjamin Britten and the...

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Annie Ernaux: The Years, review - time’s flow

Katherine Waters

“When you were our age, how did you imagine your life? What did you hope for?” It is a video of a classroom south-east of the Périphérique separating Paris from the working-class suburbs. The...

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Rachel Heng: Suicide Club review - skin-deep dystopia

Katherine Waters

When Lea is nervous she picks at the skin near the nail of her thumb. When she draws blood the wound repairs instantly because she is a member of the Second Wave endowed with SmartBlood™ and...

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Stella Tillyard: The Great Level review – reason and passion in the Fens and Virginia

Boyd Tonkin

The Fens of East Anglia, and the lonely coasts that skirt them, usually sit well below the horizon of mainstream culture. Yet when England’s flatlands and their maritime margins do find a literary...

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Guy Stagg, The Crossway review – a gripping pilgrimage through faith and doubt

Boyd Tonkin

On new year’s day in 2013, Guy Stagg set out to walk alone from Canterbury to Jerusalem. He planned this journey, which would take ten months, cross 11 countries and cover 5500km, in the wake of...

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Georges Simenon: The Krull House review – timely revival for a noir masterwork

Boyd Tonkin

Georges Simenon began to write his Inspector Maigret mysteries in the early 1930s. Not long after after, the famously productive Belgian-born novelist – who could polish off a Maigret inside a...

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Listed: 10 classic tales of the city

Boyd Tonkin

Now is the time of year when weary travellers find themselves in some sun-strafed piazza, gazing in bemusement at a world-renowned monument and wondering why on earth they came. Hectored by...

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Katharine Kilalea: OK, Mr Field review - architecture and alienation on the Cape Town coast

Boyd Tonkin

Modern novels with an architectural theme have, to say the least, a mixed pedigree. At their finest, as in Thomas Bernhard’s Correction, the fluidity and ambiguity of prose fiction...

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Sarah Langford: In Your Defence review - messy lives

Katherine Waters

When Sarah Langford goes to work, she puts on warpaint and wig and acts. But she is not an actor. She defends those who might or might not be guilty of the crimes with with they’ve been charged,...

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latest in today

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...

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...

The Good Life, Richmond Theatre review - popular sitcom gets...

"Off-grid" wasn't a thing in the mid-'70s. Sure, people...

Lubaina Himid, Tate Modern review – more explication please

Lubaina Himid won the Turner Prize in 2017 for the retrospective she held jointly at...

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