Books

The way

2 March 2024 9:00 am

Chair in a Field

2 March 2024 9:00 am

The hellraisers of Hoxton: Art, by Peter Carty, reviewed

2 March 2024 9:00 am

The pretensions of the Young British Artists are lampooned in Carty’s debut novel – but there’s still something irresistible about the 1990s London it recreates

A war reporter bravely faces death – but not from sniper fire

2 March 2024 9:00 am

As a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, Rod Nordland learned to expect many dangers, but a brain tumour wasn’t one of them

A free spirit: Clairmont, by Lesley McDowell, reviewed

2 March 2024 9:00 am

Even by the Villa Diodati’s standards, Claire Clairmont was unconventional, seducing Byron when she was 18, and giving birth to their child after a possible affair with Shelley

All work and no play is dulling our senses

2 March 2024 9:00 am

Ancient Greek philosophers reckoned that life was all about free time, but 16th-century puritanism dealt a blow to the old festive culture from which we’ve never fully recovered

What became of Thomas Becket’s bones?

2 March 2024 9:00 am

Alice Roberts’s examinations of violent deaths in the past take her to the site of Becket’s murder in Canterbury cathedral and the later destruction of his shrine by Henry VIII

Longing for oblivion: The Warm Hands of Ghosts, by Katherine Arden, reviewed

2 March 2024 9:00 am

Arden’s novel spares us no details of trench warfare on the Western Front and the severely traumatised men dreaming of escape into amnesia

An Oxford spy ring is finally uncovered

2 March 2024 9:00 am

Charles Beaumont’s warped group, recruited by an eccentric fellow of Jesus College, seems all too plausible. Other thrillers from Celia Walden and Matthew Blake

The remarkable Princess Gulbadan, flower of the Mughal court

2 March 2024 9:00 am

Emperor Babur’s beloved daughter – whose name means ‘body like a rose’ – speaks to us across the centuries in a cliffhanging account of royal life in Hindustan

Do we really want to bring back the wolf?

2 March 2024 9:00 am

The apex predator is making a startling resurgence in Europe – many say to the enrichment of the landscape. But it’ll take a lot to convince the British of that

Four months adrift in the Pacific: a couple’s extraordinary feat of endurance

2 March 2024 9:00 am

When a freak occurrence wrecked the Baileys’ sloop 300 miles from the Galapagos, their chances of rescue were minimal – and one of them couldn’t even swim

Punch and Judy Revisited

24 February 2024 9:00 am

The complexities of our colonial legacy

24 February 2024 9:00 am

Weighing the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ effects of British imperialism is a futile exercise, says Sathnam Sanghera. But he comes perilously close to doing just that

Sisterly duty: The Painter’s Daughters, by Emily Howes, reviewed

24 February 2024 9:00 am

In a celebrated portrait of his daughters, Thomas Gainsborough shows the older child protecting her sister from harm. The roles would be dramatically reversed in later life

Wishful thinking: Leaving, by Roxana Robinson, reviewed

24 February 2024 9:00 am

Two former college sweethearts meet by chance in their sixties and fall in love again. But the trouble it causes makes a happy ending impossible

The English were never an overtly religious lot

24 February 2024 9:00 am

Undeterred, Peter Ackroyd takes us on a breezy tour of the nation’s religious history, from the Venerable Bede to the present

Will Keir Starmer ever learn to loosen up?

24 February 2024 9:00 am

The Labour leader comes across as compassionate and hard-working, but so ill at ease in front of the cameras that even his close friends fail to recognise him

There was nothing remotely pleasant about a peasant’s existence

24 February 2024 9:00 am

Focusing on Ireland and his own peasant heritage, Patrick Joyce laments the passing of a distinctive way of life. But the world his parents left behind was truly horrible

The making of Good Queen Bess

24 February 2024 9:00 am

The puppet masters

17 February 2024 9:00 am

Among the Western democracies there are increasing signs that things are falling apart – our governments no longer know what…

Reluctant servant of the Raj: Burma Sahib, by Paul Theroux, reviewed

17 February 2024 9:00 am

Few personal details survive about Eric Blair’s life as a policeman in Burma, making his years in the East fertile ground for the novelist

Four dangerous visionary writers

17 February 2024 9:00 am

Simon Ings examines the lives of Maxim Gorky, Maurice Barrès, Gabriele D’Annunzio and Ding Ling, whose propagandism helped shape – and misshape – the 20th century