thu 25/02/2021

book reviews and features

Helen Macdonald: Vesper Flights review - nature lovingly described, nearly lost

India Lewis

Vesper Flights, Helen Macdonald’s first book following her incredibly successful memoir H is for Hawk in 2014, is an excellent collection of short pieces focused on the...

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Zalika Reid-Benta: Frying Plantain review - tales of growing up young, black and female in Toronto

Daniel Lewis

It is as unsurprising as it is vital that a spotlight has been thrown on writing by people of colour this year. It is unsurprising, too – looking at bestseller lists on both sides of the Atlantic...

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Nick Hayes: The Book of Trespass review – a leap over England's walls

Boyd Tonkin

Since snobbery and deference have a big part to play in Nick Hayes’s exhilarating book, let’s start with the obligatory name-drop. I have lunched – twice, in different country piles, and most...

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Matt Haig: The Midnight Library review - an uplifting modern parable

Sarah Collins

TW: This article discusses suicide, suicidal ideation, antidepressants and self-harm 

We first meet Nora Seed, “nineteen years before she decides to die”, as she plays chess in the...

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Sharon Dolin: Hitchcock Blonde: A Cinematic Memoir review - a poet’s life filtered through Hitchcock’s lens

Daniel Lewis

Poet Sharon Dolin’s memoir Hitchcock Blonde ends (no spoilers) in the same way as...

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Alex Halberstadt: Young Heroes of the Soviet Union review - a familial history of the twentieth century

India Lewis

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a collective examination of its past, with Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich at the helm. Young Heroes of the Soviet Union...

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Hiromi Kawakami: People From My Neighbourhood review - deft and feather-light

Gaby Frost

Deft and funny prose, in a feather-light translation by Ted Goossen, is the signature of Hiromi Kawakami's latest collection People From My...

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Ali Smith: Summer review - a hopeful present, beautifully described

India Lewis

It is no surprise, given her Cambridge Intellectual literary style, that Ali Smith’s Summer is multi-layered, referential, and filled with cameos from giants in the fields of art and...

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Mary South: You Will Never Be Forgotten review - canny tales of uncanny tech

Lydia Bunt

Never Let Me Go meets free, two-day shipping.” This is how Mary South describes “Keith Prime”, the first story in her debut collection. Undoubtedly, Kazuo Ishiguro springs to mind in the...

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Emily St John Mandel: The Glass Hotel review - a Ponzi scheme and its ghostly repercussions

Markie Robson-Scott

Vast wealth and equally vast fraud are part of the plot in The Glass Hotel, Emily St John Mandel’s irresistible fifth novel, but much stranger things are at play here – ghosts, parallel...

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latest in today

Album: Alice Cooper - Detroit Stories

A decade ago Alice Cooper reconnected with his roots. He created a sequel to his 1975 album Welcome to my Nightmare with Bob Ezrin, the...

Rachel Parris and Marcus Brigstocke's Tuesday Night Clu...

Lockdown has been mostly pants for live performers, comics included. There was that brief foray into open-air performances last summer, made even...

Sean Shibe, Wigmore Hall online review - persuasive and poig...

Returning to the Wigmore Hall for another socially distanced concert, Edinburgh-born...

theartsdesk Q&A: actor and comedian Andi Osho on her deb...

In her 15-year career, Plaistow-born Andi Osho has worked in theatre, TV and stand-up, and is the only contestant to have won Celebrity...

Barnes' People, Original Theatre Company online review...

The four monologues that make up Barnes’ People were filmed in the grand surroundings of the Theatre Royal, Windsor, and that venue's...

Tony and the Young Artists, Royal Opera/Liebeslieder Waltzes...

Young performers seeking platforms for their careers have had it especially rough over...

Karla Suárez: Havana Year Zero review - maths, phones and my...

Havana, 1993. Far away, the fall of the Soviet empire has suddenly stripped Fidel Castro’s...

Blu-ray: The Ascent

There’s a striking interview among the extras for this Criterion edition of...

Bloodlands, BBC One review - ghosts of the Troubles return t...

Belfast-based thriller Bloodlands comes from the pen of first-time TV writer Chris Brandon, though he may find some of his thunder being...

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