sun 03/03/2024

book reviews and features

Solmaz Sharif: Customs review - a poetics of exile and return

Jack Barron

The language of poetic technique is perhaps weighted towards rupture, rather than reparation: lines end and break, we count beats and stress, experience caesurae (literally ‘cuttings’), and mark...

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First Person: Sophie Haydock on going beyond the grave

Sophie Haydock

It was a cold day in Vienna when Egon Schiele was buried in the Ober-Sankt-Veit cemetery. He was just 28 years old.

The controversial...

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Lydia Sandgren: Collected Works review - the mysteries that surround us all

India Lewis

Lydia Sandgren’s debut novel, Collected Works, a bestseller in her native Sweden, has now been translated by Agnes Broomé into English, in all its 733-page glory. An epic family saga, it...

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Jonathan Kennedy: Pathogenesis - How Germs Made History review - a return to the infections that formed us

Jon Turney

The Cayapo tribe, a shade under 10,000 strong, lived in South America unacquainted with humans in the wider world until 1903. That year, they accepted a missionary who, along with news of...

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Loving Highsmith review - documentary focused on the writer's lighter side

Helen Hawkins

Since her death in 1995, Patricia Highsmith has prompted three biographies, screeds of often conflicting psychological analysis and now this...

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Diana Evans: A House for Alice review - lyrical sequel to Ordinary People

Markie Robson-Scott

Diana Evans specialises in houses, their baleful quirks and the meaning of home. In her acclaimed third novel, Ordinary People (2018), formerly happy, black couple Melissa and Michael...

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Colin Herd and Maria Sledmere: Cocoa and Nothing review - arts of sinking

Alice Brewer

In his mock-poetic manual Peri-Bathos (1728), Alexander Pope opens by describing the afflictions which beset inhabitants of the lower Parnassus. The aristocracy living further up the...

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Seraphina Madsen: Aurora review - the tarot won’t save us

Hannah Hutching

“There is another world… a way of perceiving that is chaotic and awesome and terrifying,” announces Seraphina Madsen’s cigarillo-smoking, telepathic cat.

Lecturing a teenage coven on the art...

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Margaret Atwood: Old Babes in the Wood review - bookending the short story

India Lewis

Margaret Atwood has been writing for sixty years now, and, with her latest publication, she has given us a book...

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Janet Malcolm: Still Pictures - On Photography and Memory review - a rare glimpse at a guarded personal history

Hugh Barnes

For almost half a century, from the mid-1960s until her death in 2021, Janet Malcolm was a staff writer on the New Yorker where her meticulous reporting and provocatively strong opinions...

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The Creation, Alder, Clayton, Mofidian, LPO, Gardner, RFH re...

Light and grace must flood the concert hall in Haydn’s The Creation, after a striking-for-its time evocation of Chaos, and periwigged...

Dune: Part 2 review - sombre space opera

Dennis Villeneuve’s Dune sequel is a sombre science-fiction spectacle that insists on the scale of cinema: erupting sandworms are Cecil B...

Faust, LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - violence and wit in Sh...

The LSO’s apéritif hour “Half-Six Fixes” have an informality that usually works and sometimes doesn’t. But the first of this two-night...

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In June 1969, The Beach Boys released “Break Away” as a single. A month earlier, they had announced they were leaving Capitol Records, who they...

St Matthew Passion, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Whelan, St Patr...

After last year’s small-scale, big-impact Messiah in the Wigmore Hall, superlatives are again in order for the IBO’s performance of the...

Lisa Frankenstein review - a bitchy trawl through the high-s...

Diablo Cody’s biggest screenwriting hit was 2007’s Juno, a larky but tender story of teenage pregnancy. She’s gone back to high school...

First Person: violinist Tom Greed on breaking down barriers...

For musicians, the period from early 2020 to mid-2021 was one of great reflection, with so many questions to puzzle over. Could we satisfy the...

Album: Squarepusher - Dostrotime

Over the years, Tom “Squarepusher” Jenkinson has covered a lot of ground over three decades, from dank cellar ambience to refined baroque...

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