Books

Why are Scandinavians so happy when they should be so sad? 

25 January 2014 9:00 am

As I sit here in my Sarah Lund Fair Isle sweater, polishing my boxed sets of Borgen and nibbling on…

On Lambeth Bridge

25 January 2014 9:00 am

I am halfway across a bridge and midway through my life, staring at the midday sun. How I love politics!…

Where the Whigs went

25 January 2014 9:00 am

A book about one of the London clubs, published to mark its 250th anniversary, might be regarded as of extremely…

The two people who brought us The Grapes of Wrath

25 January 2014 9:00 am

John Steinbeck (1902–1968), an ardent propagandist for the exploited underdogs of the Great Depression, had barely enough money for subsistence…

Write what you know — especially if it's the second world war

25 January 2014 9:00 am

Adam Foulds’s latest novel is less successful than its predecessor. In 2009 he reached the Booker shortlist with The Quickening…

A cruel novel about an India-born, world-famous, possibly real-life author

25 January 2014 9:00 am

It is six years since Hanif Kureishi’s last novel Something to Tell You, a kaleidoscopic meditation on life and death…

Hope for one of the most turbulent, traumatised regions in the world

25 January 2014 9:00 am

John Keay’s excellent new book on the modern history of South Asia plunges the reader head first into some wildly…

On Lambeth Bridge

23 January 2014 3:00 pm

I am halfway across a bridge and midway through my life, staring at the midday sun. How I love politics!…

On Lambeth Bridge

23 January 2014 3:00 pm

I am halfway across a bridge and midway through my life, staring at the midday sun. How I love politics!…

Books and Arts

18 January 2014 9:00 am

My family's better days

18 January 2014 9:00 am

Simon Blow recalls the wealth, recklessness and beauty of his family’s better days

Butcher's Crossing is not at all like Stoner — but it's just as superbly written

18 January 2014 9:00 am

John Williams’s brilliant 1965 novel, Stoner, was republished last year by Vintage to just, if surprisingly widespread, acclaim and went…

Is there a way to live without economic growth? 

18 January 2014 9:00 am

During Japan’s lost decade in the 1990s I found myself handing out rice balls to Tokyo’s homeless on the banks…

Breakdowns, suicide attempts — and four great novels

18 January 2014 9:00 am

Among the clever young Australians who came over here in the 1960s to find themselves and make their mark, a…

Scarlett O’Hara runs through the streets of burning Atlanta

'Where are the happy fictional spinsters?'

18 January 2014 9:00 am

This book arose from an argument. Lifelong bookworm Samantha Ellis and her best friend had gone to Brontë country and…

Hugh Trevor-Roper, the man who hated uniformity

18 January 2014 9:00 am

The arrival of a letter from Hugh Trevor-Roper initiated a whole series of pleasures.  Pleasure began with the very look…

The 'semi-detached' member of Margaret Thatcher's cabinet

18 January 2014 9:00 am

John Biffen was mentally ill. This is the outstanding revelation of Semi-Detached, a memoir which has been assembled from his…

At Kew

18 January 2014 9:00 am

To Occupation Road again, a whole year nearer my own retirement now. The track slopes down past the Record Office…

‘Grace Higgens in the Kitchen’ by Vanessa Bell

The Angel of Charleston, by Stewart MacKay - review

18 January 2014 9:00 am

Above the range in the kitchen at Charleston House is a painted inscription: ‘Grace Higgens worked here for 50 years…

At Kew

16 January 2014 3:00 pm

To Occupation Road again, a whole year nearer my own retirement now. The track slopes down past the Record Office…

At Kew

16 January 2014 3:00 pm

To Occupation Road again, a whole year nearer my own retirement now. The track slopes down past the Record Office…

'She's the most important Jewish writer since Kafka!'

11 January 2014 9:00 am

Ian Thomson on the turbulent life of Clarice Lispector

This year, discover Michel Déon

11 January 2014 9:00 am

In Roberto Bolaño’s novel 2666, the efforts of an academic claque propel the mysterious German author Benno von Archimboldi onto…

What was the secret of Queen Victoria's rebel daughter?

11 January 2014 9:00 am

Princess Louise (1848–1939), Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter, was the prettiest and liveliest of the five princesses, and the only one…

The National Theatre Story by Daniel Rosenthal - review

11 January 2014 9:00 am

In 1976, as the National Theatre moved into its new home on London’s South Bank, its literary manager Kenneth Tynan…