Books

Foreign bodies galore: the best new crime fiction

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Ghosts of the Past by Marco Vichi (Hodder, £18.99) is unashamedly nostalgic in tone. The title could not be more…

Crudo, by Olivia Laing, reviewed

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Olivia Laing has been deservedly lauded for her thoughtful works of non-fiction To the River, The Trip to Echo Spring…

Sickness strikes in the clifftop monasteries of Meteora, and Stagg leaves the pilgrimage route

Staggering to Jerusalem — a journey from darkness into light

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Guy Stagg walked 5,500 km from Canterbury to Jerusalem, following medieval pilgrim paths, and he records the expedition in The…

Has Tibet finally lost out to China?

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Blessings from Beijing will inform readers who know little about Tibet, and those who know a great deal will discover…

The modern celebrity silk: Geoffrey Robertson ticks all the boxes

30 June 2018 9:00 am

What makes a barrister famous? At one time, many of the best advocates were also prominent politicians, whose day job…

The great outdoors is a short walk from your front door

30 June 2018 9:00 am

When I read about the author on the flyleaf of this book, I must admit my heart sank: ‘Tristan has…

Wilhelm Furtwängler in the 1920s. His conduct, rather than his conducting, is what obsesses Roger Allen

The new biography of Wilhelm Furtwängler is a real labour of loathing

30 June 2018 9:00 am

The titans of the podium, a late 19th- and 20th-century phenomenon, a species now extinct, have on the whole been…

Can democracy survive the tidal wave of technological progress?

30 June 2018 9:00 am

For a brief moment in 2011, standing among thousands of people occupying Syntagma, the central square in Athens, it looked…

A Weekend in New York, by Benjamin Markovits, reviewed

30 June 2018 9:00 am

I wrote foul-mouthed marginalia throughout Benjamin Markovits’s A Weekend in New York. Not because Markovits is a bad writer —…

Nikola Tesla — a man of pyrotechnic intelligence, comparable to Einstein, Marconi and Edison

The electrifying genius of Nikola Tesla

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Nikola Tesla, the man who made alternating current work, wrote to J. Pierpont Morgan, the industrialist and banker. It was…

Less, by Andrew Sean Greer, reviewed

30 June 2018 9:00 am

For someone who is only 47 and has won a Pulitzer Prize, Andrew Sean Greer certainly knows how to get…

A love letter to the short story

30 June 2018 9:00 am

On a recent Guardian podcast, Chris Power — who has written a short story column in the Guardian for a…

Vocalist, street performer and Jehovah’s Witness: Damo Suzuki in 1971

The industrial kling-klang of ‘Krautrock’

30 June 2018 9:00 am

The tricky term ‘Krautrock’ was first used by the British music press in the early 1970s to describe the drones…

View of a drawing room, c. 1780 by Philip Reinagle

The short step from good manners to lofty imperialism

23 June 2018 9:00 am

In the gap between what we feel ourselves to be and what we imagine we might in different circumstances become,…

Steven Spurrier at the launch of Wine — A Way of Life. Credit Getty Images

How Steven Spurrier enraged the French — and was never forgiven

23 June 2018 9:00 am

Fine wine rarely makes it into the public consciousness, but one event in 1976 has proved of perennial interest: the…

Don Quixote is often referred to as the ‘first’ novel, though Javier Cercas disagrees

From Don Quixote to My Struggle — a survey of the novel in 160 pages

23 June 2018 9:00 am

I wonder what your idea of a good novel is. Does it embody the attributes of solid plotting, characterisation and…

An agent from the Freedman’s Bureau separates freed slaves from an angry mob at the end of the American civil war. Credit Getty Images

A Shout in the Ruins, by Kevin Powers, reviewed

23 June 2018 9:00 am

We’re in Virginia, in the 1850s. A girl called Emily is tormenting her dog, Champion, and her father’s teenage slave,…

The pain of scorching her own face exorcises the helplessness Fontaine feels at her mother’s suffering

Death-defying acts and the dark side of the circus

23 June 2018 9:00 am

In 2013 Tessa Fontaine joined up with the World of Wonders, a circus sideshow that travels around the United States…

Female Nazi supporters greet Hitler after his election as chancellor in 1933. Credit: Getty Images

Swept away by Hitler’s charisma: German women gush over the Führer

23 June 2018 9:00 am

The distinguished historian Konrad Jarausch’s new book is a German narrative, told through the stories of ordinary people who lived…

Sally Bayley. Credit: Alice Sholto-Douglas

Dickens and Agatha Christie made my childhood bearable

23 June 2018 9:00 am

Girl with Dove is a memoir by Sally Bayley, a writer who teaches at Oxford University, of growing up in…

Campaigners protest against government plans to build huge new windfarms in Wales in 2011. Credit Getty Images

When trendy ideas capture the ruling elite, democracy can go hang

23 June 2018 9:00 am

If social media manipulation has influenced elections, and dark money has influenced our elected representatives, then we are already on…

A rare photograph by Bernice Abbott of Lucia Joyce dancing in the 1920s

Lucia, by Alex Pheby, reviewed

23 June 2018 9:00 am

In 1988, James Joyce’s grandson Stephen destroyed all letters he had from, to or about his aunt Lucia Joyce, the…

Greatness thrust upon him: General de Gaulle in 1940

It took a long time for de Gaulle to become ‘de Gaulle’

16 June 2018 9:00 am

When General de Gaulle published the first volume of his war memoirs in 1954, he signed only four presentation copies:…

Zora Neale Hurston was buried in an unmarked grave, having worked as a maid, lonely and largely forgotten

The story of the last living survivor of the Atlantic slave trade is a high adventure

16 June 2018 9:00 am

Zora Neale Hurston, the African-American novelist-ethnographer, was a luminary of the New Negro Movement, later renamed by American scholars the…

The scandal of American shipping – incompetence, venality and shocking safety standards

16 June 2018 9:00 am

‘We are globalisation,’ a senior executive at the shipping company Maersk told me. ‘We enable it, and we have questions…