Anna Aslanyan

A middle-aged man in crisis: How to Make a Bomb, by Rupert Thomson, reviewed

25 May 2024 9:00 am

Travelling home from an academic conference, Philip Notman suddenly feels sick and disorientated. But it will take a long time for him to identify the cause, and possible cure

Always carry a little book with you, and preserve it with great care, said Leonardo da Vinci

4 November 2023 9:00 am

Despite the digitisation of everything, many of us still choose to jot down thoughts and sketches on paper, and would be bereft without a notebook to hand

Wallowing in misery: Tremor, by Teju Cole, reviewed

21 October 2023 9:00 am

An introspective art lecturer immerses himself in the history of slavery – and fears he has grown addicted to screen depictions of extreme brutality

Love in the shadow of the Nazi threat

3 June 2023 9:00 am

Florian Illies describes the charged atmosphere of Europe in the early 1930s, as people grew increasingly desperate to celebrate their last chance of freedom

Lovable eccentrics

22 April 2023 9:00 am

On the anniversary of Hendrix’s death, ageing hippies gather in Lviv to perform a bizarre ritual by a grave marked with his name

Jolly good company

8 April 2023 9:00 am

There are vignettes of many Cambridge contemporaries – including the mysterious John Sackur, the inspiration for the invisible man in Donkeys’ Years

A double thriller

8 January 2022 9:00 am

‘Whether I am a trembling creature or whether I have the right…’ The much quoted words of Rodion Raskolnikov, the…

Borges: the man and the brand

14 August 2021 9:00 am

‘The story that Jay Parini recounts in Borges and Me is untrue,’ a recent letter in the TLS claimed, ‘and…

The brutality of the Gulag was totally dehumanising

12 December 2020 9:00 am

‘It was a gray mass of people in rags, lying motionless with bloodless, pale faces, cropped hair, with a shifty,…

Prepare to be amazed: the story of Birmingham’s Symphony Orchestra

1 February 2020 9:00 am

anna asMany of our favourite folk tales have lost much of their original Gothic horror in later versions. By contrast,…

Reasons for remembering things: the refugee’s last resort

11 January 2020 9:00 am

A family memoir is a dangerous thing to write: one has to balance between keeping one’s subjects happy and the…

Out of sight, out of mind

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Yoko Ogawa’s new novel takes us to a Japanese island where things keep disappearing: ribbons, birds, musical instruments, fruit. People,…

Writing as revenge: Memories of the Future, by Siri Hustvedt, reviewed

23 March 2019 9:00 am

Why are people interested in their past? One possible reason is that you can interact with it, recruiting it as…

Teffi’s satire was always on target, but she balanced it with compassion

The best way to defeat totalitarianism? Treat it as a joke

19 January 2019 9:00 am

Is there anything one can never laugh about? A question inevitably hanging over humour writing, it’s best answered by the…

‘We are not cattle, we’re people’: everyday hell in Stalin’s labour camps

11 August 2018 9:00 am

‘No testimony from this time must ever be forgotten,’ the great Lithuanian poet Tomas Venclova says in his afterword to…

The Book of Joan: part apocalyptic tale, part erotic poem

24 February 2018 9:00 am

Does J.G. Ballard’s ‘disquieting equation’, ‘sex x technology = the future’, still hold? Not in Lidia Yuknavitch’s novel, which imagines…

Putting the boot into Italy

14 October 2017 9:00 am

A young woman, naked and covered in blood, totters numbly down a night road. A driver spots her in his…

Sexual tension and Siberian magic mushrooms

28 May 2016 9:00 am

On her arrival in Russia in 1914, Gerty Freely finds it refreshingly liberal compared to her native Britain: here servants…

Maxim Gorky’s revolutionaries are ready for martyrdom

23 January 2016 9:00 am

Maxim Gorky was trumpeted as ‘the great proletarian writer’ by Soviet critics, who considered his novel The Mother one of…

Umberto Eco really tries our patience

7 November 2015 9:00 am

Colonna, the protagonist of Umberto Eco’s latest novel, is the first to admit he is a loser. A middle-aged literary…

The road to Lolita: why Nabokov’s literary talent finally blossomed in America

22 August 2015 9:00 am

Speak, Memory, Vladimir Nabokov’s nostalgic memoir, reflects on his life from the age of three to 41, taking us from…

Welcome to the world of Big Byz

18 July 2015 9:00 am

The title of Victor Pelevin’s 2011 novel stands for ‘Special Newsreel/Universal Feature Film’. This product is made by the narrator,…

Poster for an exhibition of Mayakovsky’s works, 1930

Both lyricist and agitator: the split personality of Vladimir Mayakovsky

21 February 2015 9:00 am

Why increase the number of suicides? Better to increase the output of ink! wrote Vladimir Mayakovsky in 1926 in response…