Books

Is this the last round in the great celebrity Punch and Judy show?

2 May 2020 9:00 am

It’s been tough recently being Woody Allen, something that didn’t look too easy to begin with. Last year Amazon breached…

Why are musicologists so indifferent to their subjects’ love lives?

2 May 2020 9:00 am

People often say that the battle for male gay rights has been won, at least in the West, and that…

When Idi Amin threatened to shoot the cook

2 May 2020 9:00 am

Private chefs keep many secrets and are expected to go to their graves without sharing a morsel of gossip about…

A Wiltshire mystery: A Saint in Swindon, by Alice Jolly, reviewed

2 May 2020 9:00 am

This novella is suited to our fevered times. Scheduled to coincide with the Swindon spring festival of literature, now cancelled,…

Short stories to enjoy in lockdown

2 May 2020 9:00 am

In these circumstances there’s a temptation to reach for the longest novel imaginable. If you’re not going to read Proust…

Pity the poor stepmother — the most reviled character in folk literature

25 April 2020 9:00 am

Fairy stories were not originally aimed at children, and we do not know what the first audience responses were; but…

Moscow rules in London: how Putin’s agents corrupted the British elite

25 April 2020 9:00 am

Putin’s corrupt cronies may change, but the paranoid world view they all share remains the same, says Owen Matthews

For Jack Tar, going to sea was the ultimate adventure

25 April 2020 9:00 am

Seafaring and the rule of the waves — as the song would have it — was an integral part of…

Guilty pleasures that fail to satisfy: Cleanness, by Garth Greenwell, reviewed

25 April 2020 9:00 am

In Henry and June, Anaïs Nin asks her cousin Eduardo if one can be freed of a desire by experiencing…

How Brighton’s gangs became increasingly radicalised

25 April 2020 9:00 am

Between October 2013 and January 2014, five teenaged boys from Brighton, three of them brothers from a family called Deghayes,…

A story of skill, courage and imagination: how Britain’s Sea Harriers stole victory against the odds

24 April 2020 11:00 pm

‘The world,’ Mrs Thatcher was reported to have said, ‘is full of ships.’ With this comment, unlike in many other…

Clean lines and dirty habits: the Modernists of 1930s Hampstead

24 April 2020 11:00 pm

With its distinctive hilly site and unusually coherent architecture (significantly, most of it domestic rather than civic), Hampstead has always…

Arthur Jeffress: bright young person of the post-war art scene

24 April 2020 11:00 pm

The name Arthur Jeffress may not conjure many associations for those not familiar with the London post-war art world, but…

Alexandra Shulman’s unlikely career in fashion journalism should have made a Hollywood movie

24 April 2020 11:00 pm

Alexandra Shulman says that she had ‘no desire to write an autobiography’ — so instead she has written about her…

Mysteries of English village life: Creeping Jenny, by Jeff Noon, reviewed

18 April 2020 9:00 am

I doubt whether any book would entice me more than a horrible hybrid of crimefiction, speculative fantasy, weird religion and…

There’s no single trick to making money — just resist a noble calling

18 April 2020 9:00 am

‘Beauty is pain,’ the model Gigi Hadid asserts. She’s one of the successful, rich people quizzed by William Leith in…

Our rivers, as much as our oceans, are in urgent need of protection

18 April 2020 9:00 am

Geography can be history and history geography — and sometimes the most obvious things are overlooked. Laurence C. Smith’s Rivers…

The dirt on King David: Anointed, by Michael Arditti, reviewed

18 April 2020 9:00 am

Michael Arditti has never held back from difficult or unfashionable subjects. His dozen novels, including the prize-winning Easter, as well…

We all need to be let alone —not just Greta Garbo

18 April 2020 9:00 am

‘You’re never alone with a Strand,’ went the misbegotten advertisement for a new cigarette in 1959. What the copywriter didn’t…

Kashrut dietary laws are ill-suited to lactose-intolerant Jews

18 April 2020 9:00 am

Until fairly recently, all over the western world there were specialised eating places catering largely for Jews who respected the…

Sinister toy story: Little Eyes, by Samanta Schweblin, reviewed

18 April 2020 9:00 am

We often hear that science fiction — or ‘speculative’ fiction, as the buffs prefer — can draw premonitory outlines of…

It’s still impossible for Horst Wächter to recognise his father as a Nazi war criminal

18 April 2020 9:00 am

In 1926, while putting in place the repressive laws and decrees that would define his dictatorship, Mussolini appointed a new…

Heated debate over Franklin’s doomed Arctic expedition

18 April 2020 9:00 am

How refreshing in a time of general sensitivity to find a book intended to infuriate and debunk. Welcome to the…

The cult of Sappho in interwar Paris

18 April 2020 9:00 am

Philip Hensher describes how Paris became a magnet for literary-minded lesbians in the early 20th century – where they soon caused quite a stir

Is the world speeding up or slowing down? Depending on your politics, you can argue either way

11 April 2020 9:00 am

Ah well. It was a nice try. A few years ago I wrote a book called The Great Acceleration, arguing…