More from Books

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

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

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

A mother-daughter love story

17 February 2024 9:00 am

In her latest memoir, Leslie Jamison describes her pregnancy, experience of childbirth and devotion to her baby, returning repeatedly to the dilemmas of a working mother

The firebrand preacher who put Martin Luther in the shade

17 February 2024 9:00 am

Andrew Drummond traces the short, turbulent career of Thomas Müntzer, the rabble-rousing revolutionary behind the peasants’ uprising in 1520s Germany

Flaubert, snow, poverty, rhythm … the random musings of Anne Carson

17 February 2024 9:00 am

It is thrillingly difficult to keep one’s balance in Carson’s topsy-turvy world as she meditates on a wide range of subjects in poetry, pictures and prose

After Queen Victoria, the flood

17 February 2024 9:00 am

Alwyn Turner draws on popular culture to show how violent protest and unrest followed the old queen’s death, making nonsense of the fabled Edwardian ‘golden summer’

What do we mean when we say we are ‘giving up’?

17 February 2024 9:00 am

Adam Phillips explores the various implications of the phrase, contrasting giving up smoking or alcohol with giving up hope – and being given up on

Extremes of passion: What Will Survive of Us, by Howard Jacobson, reviewed

10 February 2024 9:00 am

On first meeting, Sam and Lily both suffer a coup de foudre and embark on an affair involving submission and sado-masochism. But where will it lead?

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

Saviours of souls: the heroism of lifeboat crews

10 February 2024 9:00 am

Helen Doe’s moving history of the RNLI celebrates the volunteers who, over the centuries, have risked their own lives for those in peril on the sea

Heartbreak in the workplace: Green Dot, by Madeleine Gray, reviewed

10 February 2024 9:00 am

Hera is 24, bisexual and usually dates women. But her infatuation with Arthur, an older, married journalist in her office, grows all-consuming

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

Thugs in drape jackets: when the Teddy Boys ruled the roost

10 February 2024 9:00 am

Bleak 1950s Britain saw the birth of the first working-class youth counterculture, but the Teds were a surprisingly short-lived – if violent – phenomenon

The perils of Prague: Parasol Against the Axe, by Helen Oyeyemi, reviewed

10 February 2024 9:00 am

Three women with a criminal past meet for a weekend hen party – but any hopes of enjoying themselves are soon dashed

Is writing now changing the world for the worse?

3 February 2024 9:00 am

Humanity’s great civilising accomplishment may have slipped the leash. Computer programs and surveillance also involve ‘writing’, potentially making us decreasingly human

Music was always Anthony Burgess’s first love

3 February 2024 9:00 am

A gifted pianist and composer, Burgess combined his talents in a superb series of music reviews, published for the first time in a complete collection

No one could match Tess, to Thomas Hardy’s dismay

3 February 2024 9:00 am

Hardy’s 38-year marriage to Emma Gifford was notoriously acrimonious; but even his much younger second wife, Florence, never seemed to measure up to his fictional heroines