Michael Arditti

A timely morality tale: The Spoiled Heart, by Sunjeev Sahota, reviewed

4 May 2024 9:00 am

Conflicting ideals of old-school socialism and modern identity politics are fought out against a background of urban desolation worthy of Dickens

A voyage of literary discovery: Clara Reads Proust, by Stéphane Carlier, reviewed

23 March 2024 9:00 am

A 23-year-old hairdresser casually picks up a copy of Swann’s Way left behind by a client – only to find the novel taking over her life

Victims of a cruel prejudice: the last two men to be executed for sodomy in England

10 February 2024 9:00 am

Chris Bryant describes in painful detail how James Pratt and John Smith, working-class men from the Midlands, fell foul of the ‘bloodthirsty English justice system’ in 1835

A redemptive fable: Night Watch, by Jayne Anne Phillips, reviewed

20 January 2024 9:00 am

Set in the Appalachian Mountains, the novel centres around a family struggling to survive domestic abuse and abandonment in the aftermath of the American civil war

Escape into the wild: Run to the Western Shore, by Tim Pears, reviewed

28 October 2023 9:00 am

A chieftain’s daughter flees an arranged marriage with the Roman governor of Britain, enlisting the help of slave and risking both their lives

Stark realities

7 October 2023 9:00 am

Lawyers, teachers, architects and engineers all enjoy sex behind the scenes at a Houston gay bar in a novel focusing on relationships among black urban men

The schoolgirl crush that never went away: Absolutely and Forever by Rose Tremain reviewed

16 September 2023 9:00 am

A delicate, funny and generous-hearted novel about thwarted love and its aftermath in a 1960s Middle England

Literary charades

20 May 2023 9:00 am

Blending fact and fiction, France combines a tale of antics on a creative writing course with episodes from her family life

Carry on curate: scenes of modern clerical life

18 March 2023 9:00 am

The Revd Fergus Butler-Gallie regales us with stories of mistaken identity, hymns with erotic undertones and an archbishop’s surprising take on Lenten penance

In the fascist grip

11 March 2023 9:00 am

A French widower’s horror at his elder son’s involvement with the Front National grows ever deeper as violence escalates

Artistic achievements that changed the world

22 October 2022 9:00 am

‘Astonish me!’ was the celebrated demand that the impresario Sergei Diaghilev made of Jean Cocteau when he was devising Erik…

Reworking Dickens: Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingsolver, reviewed

15 October 2022 9:00 am

Putting new wine into old wineskins is an increasingly popular fictional mode. Retellings of 19th-century novels abound. Jane Austen inevitably…

Sixteen cathedrals to see before you die

27 August 2022 9:00 am

There can be no clearer illustration of the central role that great cathedrals continue to play in a nation’s life…

Propaganda from the Russian Front: The People Immortal, by Vasily Grossman, reviewed

13 August 2022 9:00 am

On its posthumous publication in 1980, Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate was widely compared with War and Peace. For all…

A gay journey of self-discovery

6 August 2022 9:00 am

Seán Hewitt, born in 1990, realised that he was gay at a very early age. ‘A kind, large woman’ who…

Michael Beloff QC drops names – but they’re not the ones we’re curious about

2 July 2022 9:00 am

‘The law,’ according to W.S. Gilbert’s Lord Chancellor, ‘is the true embodiment of everything that’s excellent’ and, by common consent,…

The making of a poet: Mother’s Boy, by Patrick Gale, reviewed

5 March 2022 9:00 am

Charles Causley was a poet’s poet. Both Ted Hughes and Philip Larkin considered him the finest candidate for the laureateship,…

Man of mystery: Not Everybody Lives the Same Way, by Jean-Paul Dubois, reviewed

29 January 2022 9:00 am

For Jean-Paul Dubois, as for Emily Dickinson, ‘March is the month of expectation’. A prolific writer, he limits his literary…

A scrapbook of sketches: James Ivory’s memoir is slipshod and inconsequential

11 December 2021 9:00 am

James Ivory and Ismail Merchant formed the most successful cinematic partnership since Michael Powell and Eric Pressburger. Between the founding…

From ‘little Cockney’ to playing Queen Mary: the remarkable career of Eileen Atkins

16 October 2021 9:00 am

Eileen Atkins belongs to a singular generation of British actresses, among them Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Sian Phillips and Vanessa…

The secret life of Thomas Mann: The Magician, by Colm Tóibín, reviewed

18 September 2021 9:00 am

In a letter to Stephen Spender, W.H. Auden, who had married Thomas Mann’s daughter Erika sight unseen in order to…

The book as narrator: The Pages, by Hugo Hamilton, reviewed

31 July 2021 9:00 am

It is a truism that a book needs readers in order to have a meaningful existence. Hugo Hamilton’s The Pages…

Brightest of the Bright Young People: the rich, rackety life of Cecil Beaton

12 June 2021 9:00 am

In December 1979, the 28-year-old Hugo Vickers, dining with a friend, declared: ‘I see little point to life these days.’…

Celebrating Jesus’s female followers: Names of the Women, by Jeet Thayil, reviewed

20 March 2021 9:00 am

The gnostic Gospel of Mary has long been the subject of controversy, even as to which of the several Marys…