Claire Lowdon

The changing face of Ireland

2 September 2023 9:00 am

A dead poet’s dangerous aura continues to haunt his daughter and 23-year old granddaughter in this story of an unhappy family set in rapidly changing Ireland

Woman of mystery

8 April 2023 9:00 am

A counterfactual history of modern America serves as a backdrop to the life of the enigmatic ‘X’ – a woman of multiple personae and impenetrable disguises

Ian McEwan’s capacity for reinvention is astonishing

10 September 2022 9:00 am

Ian McEwan’s latest novel is unusually long and autobiographical. It’s surprising in other ways, too, says Claire Lowdon

Variations on a theme: To Paradise, by Hanya Yanagihara, reviewed

15 January 2022 9:00 am

My daunting brief: to tell you about Hanya Yanagihara and her new, uncategorisable 720-page novel in 550 words. It’s the…

Anthony Holden is nostalgic for journalism’s good old bad old days

27 November 2021 9:00 am

After a career spanning 50 years, 40 books and about a million parties, Anthony Holden has written a memoir. Based…

Reality and online life clash: No One is Talking About This, by Patricia Lockwood, reviewed

20 February 2021 9:00 am

Some writers — Jane Austen, for example — get to funny sideways, using irony and understatement. The American poet and…

Aunt Munca’s murky past

31 October 2020 9:00 am

Kiss Myself Goodbye. It sounds a bit like a William Boyd novel. It looks likea William Boyd novel, too: the…

Less radical, less rich: Elizabeth Strout’s Olive, Again is a disappointment

16 November 2019 9:00 am

Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer-prize winning Olive Kitteridge (2008) is the novel I recommend to friends who don’t read much. Talk about…

Gen Xers v. Millennials: White, by Bret Easton Ellis, reviewed

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Q: What’s worse than listening to someone ranting hysterically about Donald Trump? A: Listening to Bret Easton Ellis ranting hysterically…

How to be good

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Suffering, wrote Auden, takes place ‘while someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along’. His…

Tim Parks’s one-sided ‘love story’ is a long trudge in the rain

13 February 2016 9:00 am

The title of Tim Parks’s 17th novel is false advertising, because Thomas and Mary: A Love Story is barely a…

The Butcher of Bosnia holes up in an Irish backwater

14 November 2015 9:00 am

The cover of Edna O’Brien’s 17th novel sports a handsome quote from Philip Roth: ‘The great Edna O’Brien has written…

If there’d been a Gilbert and Sullivan opera about Roland Barthes, it might have sounded like John Banville’s The Blue Guitar

12 September 2015 9:00 am

The Blue Guitar is John Banville’s 16th novel. Our narrator-protagonist is a painter called Oliver Orme. We are in Ireland,…

Fathers and sons — seen from multiple angles

30 May 2015 9:00 am

‘People talk about their childhood and it’s so mundane. I don’t remember much about it, if I’m honest. I can’t…