Books

Some insights into autism

5 August 2017 9:00 am

The Reason I Jump, by the autistic Japanese teenager Naoki Higashida, was a surprise bestseller in 2013. Rendered as a…

… and an awesome beak

5 August 2017 9:00 am

The Enigma of Kidson is a quintessentially Etonian book: narcissistic, complacent, a bit silly and ultimately beguiling. It is the…

Dan Powell

Formidable black talons…

5 August 2017 9:00 am

I often feel slightly sorry for the British nature writer. It’s not an attractive emotion — it sounds patronising —…

Lyudmila Pavlichenko at Sevastopol, 6 June 1942. Her total confirmed kills during the second world war amounted to 309, including 36 enemy snipers

Heroines of the Soviet Union

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Klara Goncharova, a Soviet anti-aircraft gunner, wondered at the end of the second world war how anyone could stand to…

The evil that men do

5 August 2017 9:00 am

The first thing to say about Claudio Magris’s new novel is that it is, in an important sense, unreadable. There…

With the all-encompassing model of Moby-Dick behind him, Hoare presents us with a vast and billowing medley of marinaria

Spirits from the vasty deep…

29 July 2017 9:00 am

‘The sea defines us, connects us, separates us,’ Philip Hoare has written. His prize-winning Leviathan, then a collection of essays…

The Shard’s angled, fractured sides change its appearance according to London’s sky conditions

Towering extravagance

29 July 2017 9:00 am

The Shard is an unnecessary building. Nobody apart from its developer asked for it to be built. Nobody was crying…

Rules of behaviour

29 July 2017 9:00 am

It’s the constant dilemma of the pop science author: how to write something flashy enough to grab readers, but solid…

Down – if not out – in Paris

29 July 2017 9:00 am

Virginie Despentes remains best known in this country for her 1993 debut novel, Baise-Moi, about two abused young women who…

Roxane Gay: ruminative, repetitive and solipsistic

A cacophony of complaint

29 July 2017 9:00 am

What sort of monster gives a bad review to a book by someone who was gang raped as a 12-year-old…

His own worst enemy

29 July 2017 9:00 am

One fail-safe test of a writer’s reputation is to see how many times his or her books get taken out…

The dark side of creativity

29 July 2017 9:00 am

In Eureka, Anthony Quinn gives us all the enjoyable froth we could hope for in a novel about making a…

A 19th-century version of the Black Prince, by Benjamin Burnell

Black prince or white knight?

29 July 2017 9:00 am

We cannot know for sure how Edward the Black Prince earned his sobriquet. For some it was the volatile mixture…

Stretcher-parties wading through the morass sometimes took six hours to bring in casualties. Left: near Boesinghe, 1 August 1917 (from Chris McNabb’s Passchendaele 1917)

Drowning in mud and blood

29 July 2017 9:00 am

George Orwell’s suggestion that the British remember only the military disasters of the first world war is certainly being borne…

… trailing strands in all directions

29 July 2017 9:00 am

Letters of Intent — letters of the intense. Keen readers of Cynthia Ozick (are there any other kind?) will of…

Timothy Leary — apostle of acid and, according to Richard Nixon, ‘the most dangerous man in America’

A strange vibration

22 July 2017 9:00 am

Among the many curiosities revealed in this book, few are more startling than the fact that at the height of…

Playing Stalin for laughs

22 July 2017 9:00 am

Christopher Wilson’s new novel is much easier to enjoy than to categorise. And ‘enjoy’ is definitely the right word, even…

The new age of the refugee

22 July 2017 9:00 am

After years of estrangement in a foreign land, what can immigrants expect to find on their return home? The remembered…

By Patten or design?

22 July 2017 9:00 am

My old friend Richard Ingrams was said always to write The Spectator’s television reviews sitting in the next-door room to…

Was the artist of Lascaux just desperate for peace?

Something in the water

22 July 2017 9:00 am

‘It was a shock, and an epiphany,’ says Fiona Sampson, to realise that many of her favourite places were built…

William Joyce — better known as Lord Haw-Haw: an ideological enthusiast for fascism

The infamous four

22 July 2017 9:00 am

Most books about British traitors feature those who spied for Russia before and during the Cold War, making it easy…

The cold grip of fear

22 July 2017 9:00 am

A screenwriter sits in a lovely rented house somewhere up an Alp in early December. The air is clear, the…

A choice of short stories

22 July 2017 9:00 am

It can’t be easy to switch between editing others people’s fiction and writing your own: how do you suspend that…

Nadar ascending aloft in his basket — in this case in his studio, recording the event for mass consumption

The first celebrity

15 July 2017 9:00 am

It’s quite a scene to imagine. A maniacal self-publicist with absurd facial hair takes off in what’s thought to be…

Lomasko gives a voice to the invisible and the unheard in her graphic novel, ‘Other Russias’

Beyond the pale

15 July 2017 9:00 am

You can tell everything you need to know about what Victoria Lomasko thinks of her homeland by the titles of…