mon 24/09/2018

fiction

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

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 mitigates, even undermines, the obsessive planner’s or designer’s...

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Meg Wolitzer: The Female Persuasion review - the many faces of feminism

Meg Wolitzer’s 10th novel has been hailed as a breakthrough, a feminist blockbuster, an embodiment of the zeitgeist. (Nicole Kidman has bought the film rights, which goes to show.) But in all her fiction, she deftly explores motherhood, career,...

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William Trevor: Last Stories review - final intimations

An Irishman who spent more than half a century in London and then Devon, and a prolific writer – nearly 20 novels and novellas, some 20 collections of short stories in varying combinations – William Trevor (1928-2016) is often eulogised as a modern...

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Mario Vargas Llosa: The Neighbourhood review - a surprisingly sketchy telenovela

Mario Vargas Llosa has written a thriller which opens eye-poppingly. Two wives, one staying over with the other, discover in the course of the night that they are in fact bisexual. “Chabela stayed and slept in the bed with Marisa,” it says towards...

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The Woman in White, BBC One review - camp Victoriana

The BBC excels at a very particular kind of drama, namely one where production values overawe dramatic content. Its version of The Woman in White (BBC One) proves no exception. Our hero is Walter, a bemused sappy painter played by ex-Eastender Ben...

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Listed: The 10 Best Biblical Novels

From the myths of the Old Testament to the miracles of the New, the Bible has been as much a source of inspiration to writers, artists and composers as it has to theologians and priests. One of the most infamous yet influential of all Old Testament...

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'In order to write my book I had to kill Jane Austen'

My heroine would not have appeared in a Jane Austen novel. Brilliant, arch and incisive though Austen was – as deft in dissecting the economics of romance as in laying bare the lies told by the human heart – for better or worse, she still sent all...

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Lisa Halliday: Asymmetry review - unconventional and brilliant

Lisa Halliday’s striking debut novel consists of three parts. The first follows the blooming relationship between Alice and Ezra (respectively an Assistant Editor and a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer) in New York; the middle section comprises a...

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Rhidian Brook on The Killing of Butterfly Joe

When I was 23 I had a job selling butterflies in glass cases in America. I worked for a guy who, as well as being a butterfly salesman, had ambitions to be America’s first Pope (an ambition he ditched on account of him wanting to marry). I drove all...

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

Joe Dunthorne's debut novel Submarine (2008) burrowed plausibly inside the head of a teenager worrying about sex and his parents’ marriage. Richard Ayaode latched onto its quizzical appeal in his film adaptation. Dunthorne’s longer and more...

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

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’s novels. Like Tony Webster in The Sense of an Ending, “average at...

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Jonathan Coe: The Broken Mirror review - potent, crystalline, but rather small

Novelist Jonathan Coe has, for some time, been assuming the role of an Evelyn Waugh of the left. Brilliant early comedies about education, journalism, and power have made way for longer, deeper, but arguably somewhat lugubrious, almost mystical...

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