John Self

The scars of public school: English Monsters, by James Scudamore, reviewed

7 March 2020 9:00 am

‘James Scudamore is now a force in the English novel,’ says Hilary Mantel on the cover of English Monsters, which,…

Cosy, comforting and a bit inconsequential: Here We Are, by Graham Swift, reviewed

29 February 2020 9:00 am

There’s something — isn’t there? — of the literary also-ran about Graham Swift. He was on Granta’s first, influential Best…

Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming is a long, hard slog

11 January 2020 9:00 am

The Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai, who sounds like a sneeze and reads like a fever, is on a mission to…

The good sex award goes to Sarah Hall: Sudden Traveller reviewed

14 December 2019 9:00 am

Sarah Hall should probably stop publishing short stories for a while to give other writers a chance. If she’s not…

I Will Never See the World Again, Ahmet Altan’s fourth book written from prison

2 March 2019 9:00 am

There’s no getting away from that title. I will never see the world again. It catches your eye on the…

Stuck for something to read? Pick up a Penguin Classic

15 December 2018 9:00 am

In 1956, after Penguin Classics had published 60 titles, the editor-in-chief of Penguin Books, William Emrys Williams, wondered: ‘How many…

The evil that men do

5 August 2017 9:00 am

The first thing to say about Claudio Magris’s new novel is that it is, in an important sense, unreadable. There…