A.S.H. Smyth

The magic and mystery of Georgia: Hard by a Great Forest, by Leo Vardiashvili, reviewed

3 February 2024 9:00 am

Homesick after 20 years in London, Irakli returns to his Caucasian roots and promptly disappears. Can Saba, his youngest son, track him down against the odds?

A strong whiff of goodbyes: The Pole and Other Stories, by J.M. Coetzee, reviewed

9 December 2023 9:00 am

‘The cogs are seizing up, the lights are going out.’ As Elizabeth Costello clears her desk in this collection of stories, we feel that Coetzee may be doing the same

Falklanders won’t forgive the EU’s ‘Las Malvina’ blunder

22 July 2023 4:47 pm

This week, the European Union, in its infinite wisdom, made pretty much the only blunder which, in the eyes of Falkland Islanders, there…

Proof at last that the Great Pyramid wasn’t built by aliens

26 March 2022 9:00 am

Because I once made the mistake of dabbling in Egyptology, some ‘friend’ will schwack me every other week with a…

Why did the Allies dismiss the idea of a German resistance movement?

21 August 2021 9:00 am

In 1928, a modest young lecturer from Wilwaukee, Mildred Harnack, née Fish, arrived in Berlin to begin her PhD in…

A pawn in the Great Game: the sad story of Charles Masson

22 May 2021 9:00 am

‘Everyone knows the Alexandria in Egypt,’ writes Edmund Richardson, ‘but there were over a dozen more Alexandrias scattered across Alexander…

The scholars who solved the riddles in the sands

24 October 2020 9:00 am

In 1835 the first two Egyptian antiquities were registered in the British Museum: a pair of red granite lions from…

How to scale a mountain without leaving home

18 April 2020 9:00 am

How to scale a mountain without leaving home

Maaza Mengiste’s The Shadow King is certainly no Abyssinian Andy McNab

7 February 2020 10:00 pm

In 1935 the troops of Benito Mussolini’s sinister-clownish Roman Empire II invaded Ethiopia, in large part out of spite for…

The great American trauma in minute detail

21 September 2019 9:00 am

Why, I asked some months back in these pages, do the protagonists in American fiction these days seem so lost?…

Credit: Getty Images

The end of the world is nigh: the latest short stories reviewed

2 February 2019 9:00 am

Only Helen DeWitt would start a book with an epigraph of her own pop-culture mash-up poetry and end with an…

The B-side of The English Patient? Warlight, by Michael Ondaatje, reviewed

9 June 2018 9:00 am

In 1945, on a Putney side street, in a city full of darkness and half in rubble from the Blitz,…

The execution of mutineers by the Bengal Horse Artillery, in a painting by Orlando Norie

Did the reprisals following the Indian mutiny seal Britain’s fate in the subcontinent?

13 January 2018 9:00 am

Many and various are the things one finds in Kentish pubs (I’m told); but few could top the sepoy’s skull…

A master of Norwegian wood

16 December 2017 9:00 am

Ole Thorstensen has been a carpenter for 25 years. A master craftsman, in fact. He is busy working on a…