Stuart Kelly

Kapows and wisecracks: Fight Me, by Austin Grossman, reviewed

15 June 2024 9:00 am

A mild-manned academic with special powers joins forces with three similarly gifted friends to defeat the Dark Adversary, Sinistro

John Deakin: the perfect anti-hero of the tawdry Soho scene

20 April 2024 9:00 am

The photographer never attempted to show anyone in a good light, making his portraits of Francis Bacon and other Soho habitués look like dress rehearsals for morgue shots

Progressives vs. bigots: How I Won a Nobel Prize, by Julius Taranto, reviewed

10 February 2024 9:00 am

When a quantum physicist and her partner reluctantly move to a university staffed by cancelled luminaries the scene is set for a darkly comic clash of ideologies

A multicultural microcosm: Brooklyn Crime Novel, by Jonathan Lethem, reviewed

25 November 2023 9:00 am

Lethem returns to the borough with a tale of violence, neglect and demographic change over the decades, tinged with nostalgia but far from sentimental

Other worlds, other lives

12 August 2023 9:00 am

A scientist finds a way to access other realities and bequeaths the secret to her daughter. But a dangerous adversary is on the trail

Web of connections

1 July 2023 9:00 am

Structured around interlocking stories, the novel is a moving depiction of illness and death – but quantum physics, telepathy and time travel make for cerebral fun as well

Nothing really matters

18 March 2023 9:00 am

A mathematics professor, who specialises in the idea of nothing, is approached by a would-be Bond villain with a dastardly plan of annihilation

Opposites attract

25 February 2023 9:00 am

A young guerrilla gardener and an American billionaire vie for a plot of land in New Zealand. Can they trust one another to reach an agreement?

Close to extinction: Venomous Lumpsucker, by Ned Beauman, reviewed

6 August 2022 9:00 am

Ned Beauman’s novels are like strange attractors for words with the letter ‘Z’. They zip, zing, fizz, dazzle and sizzle.…

At last, a book about James Joyce that makes you laugh

2 July 2022 9:00 am

I do not think I am alone in confessing that I had read critical works on James Joyce before I…

Only Iain Sinclair could glimpse Hackney in the wilds of Peru

18 September 2021 9:00 am

It seemed like a preposterous proposition. For decades, Iain Sinclair has been an assiduous psychogeographer of London, an eldritch cartographer…

The poet with many lives

14 August 2021 9:00 am

This is an ingenious and infuriating book about an ingenious and infuriating writer. I first encountered Fernando Pessoa in the…

Puzzle Pieces: Cowboy Graves, by Roberto Bolaño, reviewed

1 May 2021 9:00 am

This might seem an odd confession, but the work of Roberto Bolaño gives me very good bad dreams. When I…

Escape from reality: How to Survive Everything, by Ewan Morrison, reviewed

27 March 2021 9:00 am

Ewan Morrison is an intellectually nimble writer with a penchant for provocation. His work has included the novels, Distance, Ménage…

All change: The Arrest, by Jonathan Lethem, reviewed

19 December 2020 9:00 am

This is an Exquisite Corpse of a novel — or if you prefer another name for that particular game, Heads,…

Spotting the mountweazels: The Liar’s Dictionary, by Eley Williams, reviewed

11 July 2020 9:00 am

There is a particular sub-genre of books which are witty and erudite, comic and serious and often of a bibliophilic…

Mysteries of English village life: Creeping Jenny, by Jeff Noon, reviewed

18 April 2020 9:00 am

I doubt whether any book would entice me more than a horrible hybrid of crimefiction, speculative fantasy, weird religion and…

Philip Hensher’s latest novel is a State of the Soul book

15 February 2020 9:00 am

This is a very nuanced and subtle novel by Philip Hensher, which manages the highwire act of treating its characters…

Will Self’s memoir of drug addiction is a masterpiece of black humour

7 December 2019 9:00 am

Well, it was always going to be called Will. More than once in this terrifying, terrific book, Will Self refers…

Haunted by a black cat: Earwig, by Brian Catling, reviewed

28 September 2019 9:00 am

Genuinely surrealist novels are as rare as hen’s teeth. They are a different form from the magic realist, the absurdist,…

Sam Lipsyte. Credit: Ceridwen Morris

Hitting the bull’s-eye: Hark, by Sam Lipsyte, reviewed

16 February 2019 9:00 am

This is an ebullient, irreverent and deeply serious novel in the noble tradition of Mark Twain, Sinclair Lewis (especially Babbitt…

Ceannabeinne, the now ruined village near Durness in the Scottish Highland, was a thriving community before the Clearances. Credit: Getty Images

Were the Highland Clearances really a byword for infamy?

20 October 2018 9:00 am

There is a degree of irony in the opening chapter of T.M. Devine’s history, lambasting popular previous depictions of the…

What does John Gray’s anti-atheism amount to?

21 April 2018 9:00 am

K. Chesterton, in one of his wise and gracious apothegms, once wrote that ‘When Man ceases to worship God he…

More menace – and magic – on the moors

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Andrew Michael Hurley’s The Loney was one of the surprise stand-outs of last year, and a worthy winner of the…

Elegiac and exuberant: short stories from Philip Hensher and Helen Oyeyemi

28 May 2016 9:00 am

Discussions about the short story too often fall into a false dichotomy that can be characterised, in essence, by a…