Books

A 13th-century guide to fraud and skulduggery

7 November 2020 9:00 am

Eight centuries ago in Turkey, at a gathering of intellectuals, a Muslim sultan insisted that one of his courtiers write…

Short and sweet: Xstabeth, by David Keenan, reviewed

7 November 2020 9:00 am

Aneliya, the Russian narrator of David Keenan’s enjoyably weird new novel, is worried about her dad. Tomasz’s modest music career…

Books of the year, chosen by our regular reviewers

7 November 2020 9:00 am

Reviewers choose the books they have most enjoyed in 2020 – and a few that have disappointed them

Wistful thinking: Mr Wilder & Me, by Jonathan Coe, reviewed

31 October 2020 9:00 am

Mr Wilder & Me is not in any way a state- of-the-nation novel — and thank goodness. Brilliant as Jonathan…

Demystifying the world of espionage

31 October 2020 9:00 am

John le Carré once wrote sadly that he felt ‘shifty’ about his contribution to the glamorisation of the spying business.…

London’s 598 railways stations have made the capital what it is

31 October 2020 9:00 am

I began this book waiting for a diesel train to Derby, under the windy, boxy, flat-roofed bit which one of…

Too much sound and fury in Christopher Nolan’s movies

31 October 2020 9:00 am

In 2006 the director Christopher Nolan filmed an adaptation of one of my novels, written a decade and a half…

Lambs to the slaughter: the fiasco of the Dieppe Raid, August 1942

31 October 2020 9:00 am

In carefree days which now seem so distant we used occasionally to take the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry. Docking after a long…

Kicking up a stink: Dead Fingers Talk, by William S. Burroughs, reviewed

31 October 2020 9:00 am

William Burroughs was introduced to a British readership in November 1963, and the welcome he received was ‘UGH…’ The headline…

The humble biscuit has a noble history

31 October 2020 9:00 am

Prue Leith traces the biscuit’s surprisingly colourful history

Aunt Munca’s murky past

31 October 2020 9:00 am

Kiss Myself Goodbye. It sounds a bit like a William Boyd novel. It looks likea William Boyd novel, too: the…

Tom Bower pulls his punches with his life of Boris Johnson

24 October 2020 9:00 am

The Prime Minister may have lost his bounce –but perhaps that’s no bad thing, says Lynn Barber

The gospel of separation according to Malcolm X

24 October 2020 9:00 am

In late April 1962 Los Angeles police shot and killed an unarmed black man, Ronald X Stokes, during a disturbance…

Sarah Maslin Nir enjoys the rides of a lifetime

24 October 2020 9:00 am

The appeal of a book called Horse Crazy risks being limited to those who are. Yet many moments in Sarah…

The scholars who solved the riddles in the sands

24 October 2020 9:00 am

In 1835 the first two Egyptian antiquities were registered in the British Museum: a pair of red granite lions from…

Cyber apocalypse: The Silence, by Don DeLillo, reviewed

24 October 2020 9:00 am

Elaborated over a writing career that spans half a century — a career crowned with every honour save the Nobel…

The power behind The Few: Rolls-Royce’s Merlin engine

24 October 2020 9:00 am

Eighty years ago this summer Britain was facing its greatest moment of peril as Göring’s Luftwaffe attacked airfields, cities and…

Looking for love: Ghosts, by Dolly Alderton

24 October 2020 9:00 am

Of all the successful modern female writers documenting their search for love, none has been as endearing as Dolly Alderton.…

We should never take our daily bread for granted

24 October 2020 9:00 am

In the seventh and final chapter of this small but lingeringly powerful book, the author reveals his motivation for writing…

Ivan Morozov: the Russian businessman with a passion for the avant-garde

24 October 2020 9:00 am

If you want to see the very best of Gauguin and Matisse, go east. That was the case in 1914…

A Jack Reacher travesty: The Sentinel, by Lee Child and Andrew Child, reviewed

24 October 2020 9:00 am

So upsetting it would have been, for those of us who rate Lee Child’s Jack Reacher thrillers so highly, if…

Portrait of the piss artist as a young man

17 October 2020 9:00 am

Being the son of the revered John Olsen has often been intriguing, and sometimes difficult. Olsen, 92, is arguably Australia’s…

Euthanasia sitcom: What Are You Going Through, by Sigrid Nunez, reviewed

17 October 2020 9:00 am

What Are You Going Through is both brilliant and mercifully brief. Weighing in at 200-odd pages, it can be read…

Playing devil’s advocate: a Mexican historian defends the Conquistadors

17 October 2020 9:00 am

Many books claim to describe junctures that changed the world but few examine ones as consequential as Conquistadores: A New…

Lacrimae rerum: That Old Country Music, by Kevin Barry, reviewed

17 October 2020 9:00 am

Some of my happiest fiction-reading hours have been spent in the company of Kevin Barry: two short-story collections, both prize-winners,…