thu 20/02/2020

book reviews and features

Martin Hägglund: This Life - Why Mortality Makes Us Free review - profound book to be read slowly

Marina Vaizey

Swedish-born multi-lingual academic Martin Hägglund lives in New York and teaches philosophy and comparative literature at Yale. His new book, This Life, is a substantial examination of secular...

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Vic Marks: Original Spin review - trouble in Taunton

Peter Quantrill

In cricket, timing is everything. Played a fraction early and that silky cover drive finds a batsman out to lunch as...

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Gina Apostol: Insurrecto review – a treacherous archipelago of stories

Boyd Tonkin

As in other countries born out of 19th-century uprisings against imperial power, the literary roots of the Philippines run deep. Executed by the Spanish in 1896, the novelist, poet and physician...

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CD - The Lost Words: Spell Songs

Tim Cumming

Earlier this year, eight musicians – Karine Polwart, Julie Fowlis, Seckou Keita, Kris Drever...

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Svetlana Alexievich: Last Witnesses: Unchildlike Stories review - anything but childish

Katherine Waters

Svetlana Alexievich’s Last Witnesses: Unchildlike Stories is a collection of oral testimonies conducted between 1978-2004 with...

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Ocean Vuong: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous review – the new avant-garde

Stephanie Sy-Quia

Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is written as a letter to his mother, who cannot read. She cannot read because...

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Cate Haste: Passionate Spirit - The Life of Alma Mahler review - a racy life pacily narrated

David Nice

Charismatic, full of vital elan to the end, inconsistent, fitfully creative, a casually anti-semitic Conservative Catholic married to two of the greatest Jewish artists, Alma Mahler/Gropius/Werfel...

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Anthony B. Atkinson: Measuring Poverty Around the World review - first, second and third world problems

Liz Thomson

Five years ago, when the world was still reeling from 2008 and Britain from the swinging axe of George Osborne, Thomas Piketty’s Capital was an unlikely bestseller. It was a book probably...

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Vasily Grossman: Stalingrad review - a Soviet national epic

Tom Birchenough

Stalingrad is the companion piece to Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate, which on...

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Hiromi Kawakami: The Ten Loves of Mr Nishino review - Don Juan as a salaryman

Boyd Tonkin

My first, beguiling taste of Hiromi Kawakami’s fiction came when, in 2014, I and my fellow-judges shortlisted Strange Weather in Tokyo for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. That...

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