Houman Barekat

A magnificent set of dentures still leaves little to smile about

20 April 2024 9:00 am

After undergoing prolonged cosmetic dentistry, 50-year-old John Patrick Higgins reluctantly acknowledges that he’ll never be the stylish man about town of his dreams

From revolutionary Paris to the moon

12 August 2023 9:00 am

Thirlwell’s protagonist Celine flees malicious gossip in revolutionary France to ponder on sisterly solidarity, patriarchal violence, motherhood, colonialism and slavery

An unstable world

3 June 2023 9:00 am

Adapted from interviews with a trainer from Iowa, Scanlan’s novel is a disturbing portrait of violence and squalor behind the scenes at racing stables

Double trouble

27 May 2023 9:00 am

Elsa, a concert pianist, is starting to panic. Her adoptive father is dying, and she keeps meeting her doppleganger, fuelling an obsession with her origins

All about my mother: Édouard Louis’s latest family saga

9 July 2022 9:00 am

Shunned by his father and his peers because of his homosexuality, Édouard Louis (born Eddy Bellegueule in 1992) left his village…

A universal language will always be an unattainable dream

23 April 2022 9:00 am

The comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, in his stage persona as the dim-witted interviewer Ali G, once asked Noam Chomsky if…

Short and sweet: Xstabeth, by David Keenan, reviewed

7 November 2020 9:00 am

Aneliya, the Russian narrator of David Keenan’s enjoyably weird new novel, is worried about her dad. Tomasz’s modest music career…

False pretences: No-Signal Area, by Robert Perisic, reviewed

18 July 2020 9:00 am

A journalist and poet based in Zagreb, Robert Perišic was in his early twenties when the socialist federal republic of…

Adam Mars-Jones’s protagonist has disarmingly low self-esteem: Box Hill reviewed

14 March 2020 9:00 am

Short, fat and shy, the protagonist of Adam Mars-Jones’s latest novel doesn’t have much going for him; even his name…

Bawdy, it’s not — Strange Antics: A cultural history of seduction

1 February 2020 9:00 am

Anyone reading Clement Knox’s history of seduction for salacious entertainment is likely to be disappointed: it contains no mention of…

Dave Eggers’s satire on Trump is somewhat heavy-handed: The Captain and the Glory reviewed

14 December 2019 9:00 am

A feckless moron is appointed to the captaincy of a ship, despite having no nautical experience. The Captain has a…

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Make it a new year’s resolution to be less active

12 January 2019 9:00 am

As a boy Josh Cohen was passive, dopey and given to daydreaming. Now a practising psychoanalyst and a professor of…

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Insomnia is key to my creativity

3 November 2018 9:00 am

A genre of memoir currently in vogue involves entwining the author’s personal story with the cultural history of a given…

Rock and Roll is Life: The True Story of the Helium Kids by One Who Was There: A Novel, by D.J. Taylor, reviewed

16 June 2018 9:00 am

The narrator-protagonist of D.J. Taylor’s new novel, a mild-mannered Oxford graduate named Nick Du Pont, has resisted the lure of…

The more outrageous sf fantasies give way to soft dystopias

17 February 2018 9:00 am

Science fiction, as any enthusiast will tell you, is not just about gazing into the future but also about illuminating…

Crime and puzzlement in Tony White’s Oulipo-inspired novel

3 February 2018 9:00 am

Tony White’s latest novel begins for all the world like a police procedural, following the delightfully named sleuth Rex King…

Folk-tale redux

16 September 2017 9:00 am

Daniel and his big sister, Cathy, do not go to school. They live with their father, a gargantuan former prizefighter,…

Encounters with the nastiest people on the internet

6 June 2015 9:00 am

It is almost a century since the Michelin brothers had the brainwave of supplementing their motorists’ guide with information about…

Carol White in Jeremy Sandford’s BBC play Cathy Come Home. Watched by 12 million, the drama’s hard-hitting depiction of homelessness and unemployment made a huge impact on its shocked audience in 1966

From Anthony Trollope to Meryl Streep: the theatre of politics on stage and screen

31 May 2014 9:00 am

On 1 October 1950 the BBC broadcast a seemingly innocuous little play by Val Gielgud. A light-hearted and critically unremarkable…