tue 02/03/2021

literature

The Capote Tapes review - lush portrait of the louche writer

"A candied tarantula" is one of the many great descriptions of Truman Capote that light up this conventionally made but enjoyable profile of the American author most famous for Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood. Written and...

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Roald and Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse, Sky One review – twinkly tale for troubled times

They say "never meet your heroes". That may be true, but it forms the premise of a new TV drama concerning two of the world’s most famous children’s authors – Beatrix Potter and Roald Dahl – who encounter each other at opposite ends of their life....

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Goran Vojnović: The Fig Tree review - falling apart together as Yugoslavia splits

Seven years ago, at a literary festival in the Croatian port of Pula, I heard Goran Vojnović talk about the vicious petty nationalism that that had poisoned daily life in the republics of former Yugoslavia. At that point the splintering of...

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The Secret History of My Library: Essay by Daniel Saldaña París

Books lost, left in houses I never returned to; dictionaries mislaid during a move; seven boxes sold to a second-hand bookstore… The history of my library is the history of loss and an impossible collection, scattered around several countries,...

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William Boyd: Trio review - private perils in 1968

William Boyd’s fiction is populated by all manner of artists. Writers, painters, photographers, musicians and film-makers, drawn from real life or entirely fictional, are regular patrons of his stories. Boyd’s latest novel, Trio, is no different....

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Wayne Holloway-Smith: Love Minus Love review – powerfully excavating the tormented poet's psyche

Roughly two years since “the posh mums are boxing in the square” scooped first place in the 2018 National Poetry Competition, Wayne Holloway-Smith returns with Love Minus Love, his second full-length collection. The follow-up to Alarum (2017)...

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A. Naji Bakti: Between Beirut and the Moon review - a seriously comical coming of age

What stands between Beirut and the moon? Between Lebanon’s capital and the limitless possibility beyond? It is a question as complex and immense as the nation itself. In the wake of the devastating explosion on 4 August, as well as longstanding...

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Camille Laurens: Little Dancer Aged Fourteen review - the story of a sculpture

Edgar Degas is famous for his depictions of ballet dancers. His drawings, paintings and sculptures of young girls clad in the uniform of the dance are signs of an artistic obsession that spanned a remarkable artistic career. One work in particular...

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The Booksellers review – a deep dive into the eccentric world of bookselling

Picture an antiquarian book dealer. Typically, it’s all Harris Tweed, horn-rimmed specs, and a slight disdain for actual customers. At the beginning of D.W. Young’s new documentary we are guided around New York’s rare book dealerships, and witness...

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The Luminaries, BBC One review - one of the most visually arresting dramas of the year

Alarm bells start ringing whenever you discover an author is adapting their own work for a screenplay. In the case of New Zealand novelist Eleanor Catton, the alarm proves to be false. Over the course of seven years, and apparently 200 drafts...

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Keiichiro Hirano: A Man review - the best kind of thriller

Keiichiro Hirano’s A Man has all the trappings of a gripping detective story: a bereaved wife, a dead man whose name belongs to someone else, mysterious coded letters, a lawyer intent on uncovering the truth. Together with a wilfully understated...

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Khaled Nurul Hakim: The Book of Naseeb review – a bold debut

A small-time heroin dealer harbours idealistic dreams of building a hospital “to help da limmless in Peshawar and Kabul”. This is the premise of The Book of Naseeb, the debut novel from Khaled Nurul Hakim. Perhaps audaciously billed as a “degraded...

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