mon 18/10/2021

book reviews and features

Roma Agrawal: Built review - solid love

Katherine Waters

"I've been known to stroke concrete," writes self-professed geek Roma Agrawal – and from the very beginning of her memoir-cum-introduction...

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Joe Dunthorne: The Adulterants review - a richly illuminating comedy of disappointment

Jasper Rees

Joe Dunthorne's debut novel Submarine (2008) burrowed plausibly inside the head of a teenager...

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Afua Hirsch: Brit(ish) review - essential reading on identity

Marina Vaizey

Usually extracts in newspapers should stimulate the appetite of the reader to get with it; this is a rare moment when the glimpses afforded to Afua Hirsch’s Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and...

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Julian Barnes: The Only Story review - passion, pain and sorrow in Surrey

Boyd Tonkin

From his debut Metroland, right up to the Man Booker-winning The Sense of an Ending, the prospect of a road not taken has haunted the mild and mediocre narrators of Julian Barnes...

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Dave Eggers: The Monk of Mokha review - how to become a grand master of coffee

Markie Robson-Scott

A macchiato may never taste the same again. If you’ve ever wondered about the politics and history behind your cup of designer coffee, The Monk of Mokha will answer all your questions,...

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Bruno Maçães: The Dawn of Eurasia review - middle of nowhere

Katherine Waters

Part travelogue and part broad analysis of the current and future challenges facing the EU, the premise of Bruno Maçães’s new book The Dawn of Eurasia is to “use travel to provide an...

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David Lodge: Writer’s Luck - A Memoir 1976-1991 review - literary days, in detail

Marina Vaizey

Metaphor, metonymy, simile and synecdoche, anyone? FR Leavis, Roman Jakobson, Jacques Derrida, Frank Kermode? If any of this, and more, turns you on, this lengthy...

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Nick Coleman: Voices - How a Great Singer Can Change Your Life, review - earworms explored

Liz Thomson

Readers familiar with Nick Coleman’s 2012 memoir The Train in the Night will know before embarking on this book that the author suffered the worst possible fate for a music journalist:...

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Best of 2017: Books

Boyd Tonkin

With a clownish bully currently installed in the White House, the 2017 Man Booker Prize aptly went to a...

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Nicholas Blincoe: Bethlehem - Biography of a Town review - too few wise men but remarkable women

Boyd Tonkin

Suitably enough, Nicholas Blincoe begins his personal ...

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Ridley Road, BBC One review - Jewish community fights Nazi n...

Neo-Nazis held a Trafalgar Square rally under the banner "Free Britain from Jewish Control" in the year of my birth; I had no idea until I watched...

The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Lyric Hammersmith review - matc...

“You can’t kick a cow in Leenane without some bastard holding a grudge for 20 years,” sighs Pato Dooley (Adam Best) prophetically...

Bernstein Double Bill, Opera North review - fractured relati...

Leonard Bernstein’s one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti enjoyed a relatively trouble-free gestation, at least compared to his other stage...

Clements Prize, Conway Hall review - newly-written string tr...

The Conway Hall in London has hosted chamber music concerts since it was built in 1929, and for 40 years this included a composition prize, in...

Album: Young Thug - Punk

From underground curiosity to cult icon, now label head and superstar, Atlanta’s Young Thug has continued to reinvent himself, as well as...

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Between August 1966 and November 1967, The Syn played 36...

Blu-ray: La Dolce Vita

One of those films weighed down by a considerable reputation, La Dolce Vita (1960) is rarely taken as seriously as it should be. From the...

The Dante Project, Royal Ballet review - a towering achievem...

Unless you happen to be a student of Italian language or culture, the significance of the 14th-century...

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The cherry orchard in Anton Chekhov’s eponymous play is a...

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