Boyd Tonkin

Mediterranean Gothic: The Sleepwalkers, by Scarlett Thomas, reviewed

13 April 2024 9:00 am

Thomas tells her tale of a hellish honeymoon on a Greek island with the cunning of an Aegean sorceress, keeping her readers pleasurably unsettled and alert

The truth one year, heresy the next: The Book of Days, by Francesca Kay, reviewed

3 February 2024 9:00 am

A richly imagined novel unfolds in an Oxfordshire village as the accession of the child king Edward VI brings another round of ‘newfanglery’ in religion

Must we live in perpetual fear of being named and shamed?

6 January 2024 9:00 am

Current wars, Brexit and Trumpism have sucked us into a vortex of outrage and disgrace, says David Keen – while advertisers make us feel guilty for being too fat or just poor

Public lies and secret truths

2 September 2023 9:00 am

Smith’s sweeping historical novel spans slavery in Jamaica in the 1770s and the marathon trials of the Tichborne Claimant in London a century later

The devil comes calling

8 July 2023 9:00 am

The sinister Sergeant Bertrand arrives in a ‘provincial, mediocre’ Russian town to wreak havoc in the lives of a couple mourning the loss of their son

Find the lady: Tomás Nevinson, by Javier Marías, reviewed

1 April 2023 9:00 am

A merciless ETA terrorist is in hiding in Spain – but which of three seemingly innocent women is she?

Luminous fables: Night Train to the Stars, by Kenji Miyazawa, reviewed

7 January 2023 9:00 am

A downcast cellist discovers that his music cures sick mice and rabbits in one of many tales featuring talking animals in eerie, folkloric landscapes

An empire crumbles: Nights of Plague, by Orhan Pamuk, reviewed

24 September 2022 9:00 am

Welcome to Mingheria, ‘pearl of the Levant’. On a spring day, as the 20th century dawns, you disembark at this…

When did cheerfulness get so miserable?

23 July 2022 9:00 am

We’ve all met the sort of facetious oaf who orders any non-giggling woman to ‘Cheer up, love, it might never…

Snafu at Slough House: Bad Actors, by Mick Herron, reviewed

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Reviewers who make fancy claims for genre novels tend to sound like needy show-offs or hard-of-thinking dolts. So be it:…