Books

James Kelman’s ‘Memoirs’ are a misnomer

12 December 2020 9:00 am

James Kelman doubtless remains best known for his 1994 Booker prize win for How Late It Was, How Late and…

The serious business of graphic novels

12 December 2020 9:00 am

One of the running jokes about ‘serious’ graphic novels is that so many seem to consist, one way and another,…

Transport to Australia was the saving of Carmen Callil’s family

12 December 2020 9:00 am

If 2020 has given us something to talk about other than Covid, it’s been history — and, more precisely, to…

War was never Sir Edward Grey’s métier

12 December 2020 9:00 am

This meaty but easily digested biography pivots around the events either side of that fateful evening of 4 August 1914…

The tug of war over the Rosetta Stone

12 December 2020 9:00 am

The decipherment of the Rosetta Stone led to bitter feuding – but there was mutual curiosity and collaboration too, says Elizabeth Frood

In the land of the blind

5 December 2020 9:00 am

Carter William Page, born in 1971, is the former United States Navy officer with personal, business, scholarly and government connections…

Who killed Jane Britton in 1969?

5 December 2020 9:00 am

The problem with telling stories about Harvard is that Harvard, if it teaches anything these days, teaches distrust of stories.…

No one ‘got’ the Sixties better than David Bailey

5 December 2020 9:00 am

What caught my eye towards the end of Look Again was this conversation between David Bailey and the shoe designer…

Bright and beautiful: the year’s best art books reviewed

5 December 2020 9:00 am

When he was a student, the celebrated American modernist master Robert Rauschenberg once told me that his ‘greatest teacher’ —…

The plight of the migrant: Crossed Lines, by Marie Darrieussecq, reviewed

5 December 2020 9:00 am

‘We should be living in a brave country and on a brave planet that bravely distributes its occupants,’ thinks Rose…

The British Empire is now the subject on which the sun never sets

5 December 2020 9:00 am

Wrestling with the history of the British Empire is the unfinished and unfinishable project of our history. Time’s Monster takes…

Roy Strong’s towering egotism is really rather engaging

5 December 2020 9:00 am

Stephen Bayley recalls his (mainly enjoyable) encounters with the flamboyant former museum director

Blame game

28 November 2020 9:00 am

Ah, millennials. Golden children of the Digital Age or dysfunctional, over-educated slackers? Bit of both, says Anne Helen Petersen, although…

Is there anything left worth joking about?

28 November 2020 9:00 am

Here are a couple of books that seek to tackle the difficult issue of comedy on the front line. One…

Barack Obama was decidedly a man of action as well as words

28 November 2020 9:00 am

Barack Obama was famous for his rhetoric, but his achievements show just what a steely political operator he was too, says Sam Leith

No writer was better suited to chronicle the Depression than John Steinbeck

28 November 2020 9:00 am

John Steinbeck didn’t believe in God — but he didn’t believe much in humanity either. When push came to shove,…

When sedition was rife in 18th-century London

28 November 2020 9:00 am

Researching the seditious literature of earlier periods is seldom suspenseful, pulse-quickening work. For every thrill of archival discovery, there are…

An unquiet life: There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job, by Kikuko Tsumura, reviewed

28 November 2020 9:00 am

Kikuko Tsumura is a multi-prizewinning Japanese author whose mischievously deceptive new novel takes us into what purports to be the…

Alasdair Gray gives us a vivid new Paradiso

28 November 2020 9:00 am

As every Italian schoolchild knows, The Divine Comedy opens in a supernatural dark wood just before sunrise on Good Friday…

Animal magic: children’s books for Christmas

28 November 2020 9:00 am

J.K. Rowling has written a book for children — and you know what? It’s a charmer. The Ickabod(Hachette, £20) was…

Four German-speaking philosophers in search of a theme

28 November 2020 9:00 am

How do you write a group biography of people who never actually formed a group? Such is the challenge Wolfram…

Suicide was always a spectre for John Berryman

28 November 2020 9:00 am

‘A matter that hurts me is that I have made many hundreds of people laugh, in various cities, during the…

Cheering for Jürgen Klopp: Liverpool FC’s manager can do no wrong

21 November 2020 9:00 am

As his biographer, I feel obliged to quote John Updike’s wise sayings — among them the first rule in his…

A closing of ranks: The Searcher, by Tana French, reviewed

21 November 2020 9:00 am

If the homage wasn’t clear from the title, Tana French makes sure throughout The Searcher, her seventh novel and second…

Poise and wit: The Collected Stories of Shirley Hazzard reviewed

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Shirley Hazzard was in her late twenties when, in 1959, somewhat diffidently, she submitted her first short story to the…