Books

George Orwell. Credit: Getty Images

Novel explosives of the Cold War

24 August 2019 9:00 am

One autumn night in 1991, I stood on the rooftop terrace of a tacky villa in Saranda once owned by…

A Rohingya woman in an IDP camp in 2012

We should all share the blame for the Rohingya tragedy

24 August 2019 9:00 am

My local shop in Yangon was owned by a retired army officer and his wife and guarded by their handsome…

Credit: Getty Images

From bitter loss to sweet relief: baking as therapy

24 August 2019 9:00 am

This is a gentle, lovely book. It will, I’m sure, appeal to many an aspiring cook and baker, and should…

Henry Tilney, a younger son and beneficed clergyman, defies his father in a scene from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey

A single man of no fortune must be in want of a job: younger sons in Jane Austen’s England

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Readers of Jane Austen gain a clear idea of the task facing the daughters of gentlemen. They need to secure…

: Church of St Mary the Virgin, Brent Pelham — Christopher Hadley’s Hertfordshire village

Spicing up local history —with a giant, a dragon and an ancient yew

24 August 2019 9:00 am

How interesting is local history? The history of my Cotswold village — recently celebrating the centenary of the Armistice with…

Lara Maiklem mudlarking.

The treasures to be found mudlarking by the Thames

24 August 2019 9:00 am

The 1950 B-film The Mudlark tells of an urchin who ekes out an unpleasant existence scavenging the slimy Thames foreshore.…

Alistair Moffat imagines St Cuthbert’s death, in the bleak midwinter, on a lonely, inhospitable island

Can’t anyone travel for fun any more?

24 August 2019 9:00 am

There was a time when travel writers would set off with a spring in their step: Coleridge knocking the bristles…

Deborah Levy

A hazardous crossing: The Man Who Saw Everything, by Deborah Levy, reviewed

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Serious readers and serious writers have a contract with each other,’ Deborah Levy once wrote. ‘We live through the same…

Migration in Europe is the ripple effect of the second world war

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Two words may pique the reader’s interest on the cover of this timely, panoramic history of Europe by the distinguished…

Popular medical non-fiction will soon have covered every human body part

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Nobody warns you when you start medical school that your career decisions have only just begun. Up to a decade…

Pity poor Candace Bushnell, still flogging Sex and the City at 60

17 August 2019 9:00 am

On paper, Candace Bushnell and the medieval warlord El Cid don’t have a lot in common. The first made a…

A novel take on the Western: Inland, by Téa Obreht, reviewed

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Téa Obreht’s second novel is an expansive and ambitious subversion of Western tropes, set in fin de siècle America. We…

The trail-blazing women writers of the 1960s were quite different from the male Angries

17 August 2019 9:00 am

The accepted story of mid-20th century culture in Britain belongs to the boys: the British Invasion, Beyond the Fringe and…

Walter Bagehot: the revered Victorian who got almost everything wrong

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Who was Walter Bagehot? For generations of politics students he has been the all-but-unpronounceable — Bayge-hot? Baggott? — author of…

Does Kim Jong-un deliberately emulate a Bond villain?

17 August 2019 9:00 am

North Korea watchers are good book-buyers, rarely able to resist scratching that itch of interest caused by the world’s worst…

Homage to Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor

10 August 2019 9:00 am

It is not often that a book’s blurb gives any idea of what’s inside, but Helen Castor’s endorsement — ‘a…

For the inhabitants of Ramallah, ‘home’ is just a memory

10 August 2019 9:00 am

On a rainy day in 1955, four-year-old Raja Shehadeh left school without putting his coat on. ‘I will soon be…

A child’s-eye view of the world: The Curse of the School Rabbit, by Judith Kerr, reviewed

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Is there a more perfect children’s writer for this generation than Judith Kerr? She started with a tiger — The…

The crime of passion that kept the nation enthralled

10 August 2019 9:00 am

No matter how exquisitely English —gobbets of blood amid the fireplace ornaments — murder annihilates meaning. Even when the motive…

Norfolk may be flat, but it’s never boring

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Francis Pryor claims he would be a rich man if every person who told him that the Fens were ‘flat…

Erotic longings that left me cold

10 August 2019 9:00 am

The epigraph of Three Women comes from Baudelaire’s ‘Windows’: ‘What one can see out in the sunlight is always less…

Eternal truths: Night Boat to Tangier, by Kevin Barry, reviewed

10 August 2019 9:00 am

It lives in me still, the intense thrill when, as a child, I would listen to the Irish people around…

Bohemians rhapsodising: the favourite haunts of writers and artists

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Mary Ann Caws, a retired professor of English and French literature at the City University of New York, published her…

Out of sight, out of mind

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Yoko Ogawa’s new novel takes us to a Japanese island where things keep disappearing: ribbons, birds, musical instruments, fruit. People,…

In praise of the semicolon, a most maligned punctuation mark

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Now, how shall I start this review? I loved this book. I really did. (Too abrupt.) I loved this book,…