Boyd Tonkin

An inflatable boat with 47 migrants is rescued off Libya’s coast in January 2019. Credit: Getty Images

Desperate souls: Travellers, by Helon Habila, reviewed

29 June 2019 9:00 am

Death by water haunts the stories of Africans in Europe that flow through this fourth novel by Helon Habila. From…

Credit: Getty Images

Fun at the EU’s expense: The Capital, by Robert Menasse, reviewed

16 February 2019 9:00 am

Stendhal likened politics in literature to a pistol-shot in a concert: crude, but compelling. When that politics largely consists of…

Chigozie Obioma. Credit: Jason Keith.

An Igbo Paradise Lost: An Orchestra of Minorities, by Chigozie Obioma, reviewed

12 January 2019 9:00 am

Nurture hatred in your heart and you will keep ‘an unfed tiger in a house full of children’. A man…

Adam Mickiewicz, the author of Pan Tadeusz.

A Lithuanian Romeo and Juliet: Pan Tadeusz, by Adam Mickiewicz, reviewed

15 December 2018 9:00 am

It’s hard, in Britain, to imagine a popular museum devoted to a single poem. The Polish city of Wrocław hosts…

The two works of fiction I re-read annually

4 August 2018 9:00 am

Long ago, I interviewed Edmund White and found that the photographer assigned to the job was the incomparable Jane Bown…

The Shape of the Ruins, by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, reviewed

16 June 2018 9:00 am

What makes Colombia remind me of Ireland? It’s not only the soft rain that falls from grey skies on the…

Frankenstein’s monster is more frightening than ever

17 March 2018 9:00 am

On the wall of her tumbledown house in central Baghdad, an elderly Christian widow named Elishva has a beloved icon…

Never had it so good: British novelists in the 1980s

13 January 2018 9:00 am

In 1990, the BBC’s adaptation of David Lodge’s culture-clash novel Nice Work won an award at a glitzy soirée in…

Navigating a new world

14 October 2017 9:00 am

In the 1890s, when British-owned ships carried 70 per cent of all seaborne trade, legislators worried about the proportion of…

Return to the lost city

26 August 2017 9:00 am

During a press interview in Bombay about his latest book, the author-narrator of Friend of My Youth feels ‘a surge…

Hot Spring

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Imagine if Kathy Lette — or possibly Julie Burchill — had written a feminist, magic-realist saga that sent four women…

On the trail of a lost masterpiece

6 May 2017 9:00 am

On 27 May 1939, the German liner St Louis docked in Havana with 937 passengers on board: all but a…

Why Milton still matters

18 March 2017 9:00 am

Just 350 years ago, in April 1667, John Milton sold all rights to Paradise Lost to the printer Samuel Simmons…

Dangerous liaisons

28 January 2017 9:00 am

In a Kashmiri apple orchard, a young fugitive from the Indian army’s cruel oppressions spots a snake that has ‘mistaken…

Dangerous liaisons

26 January 2017 3:00 pm

In a Kashmiri apple orchard, a young fugitive from the Indian army’s cruel oppressions spots a snake that has ‘mistaken…

Fine silks and fiery curries

12 November 2016 9:00 am

Genial, erudite and companionable over most of its 760 pages, this stout Georgian brick of a neighbourhood history at length…

Gale-force lyricism

27 August 2016 9:00 am

Centuries before their footballers learned giant-slaying ways, Icelanders knew how to startle the world with tall stories. In the moonscape…

Something new out of Africa

23 July 2016 9:00 am

In a Johannesburg mall, a listless and lonely IT worker chats with his dad about the bitter fruits of upward…

Where should this music be?

16 July 2016 9:00 am

This must rank as the most heartbreaking example of premature chicken-counting in musical history. ‘Gotter has made a marvellous free…

Where should this music be?

14 July 2016 1:00 pm

This must rank as the most heartbreaking example of premature chicken-counting in musical history. ‘Gotter has made a marvellous free…

Where should this music be?

14 July 2016 1:00 pm

This must rank as the most heartbreaking example of premature chicken-counting in musical history. ‘Gotter has made a marvellous free…