Book review – fiction

The gambler’s daily grind

26 April 2014 9:00 am

Lord Doyle is a shrivelled English gambler frittering away his money and destroying his liver in the casinos of Macau.…

A Mughal Disneyland and a ripping yarn

19 April 2014 9:00 am

Mysore, once the capital of a princely kingdom in South India, has lost its lustre. In Mahesh Rao’s darkly comic…

Start with a torpedo, and see where you go from there

19 April 2014 9:00 am

Sebastian Barry’s new novel opens with a bang, as a German torpedo hits a supply ship bound for the Gold…

A thriller that breaks down the publishing office door

19 April 2014 9:00 am

Like teenage children and their parents, authors and publishers have a symbiotic relationship characterised by well-justified irritation on both sides.…

Don't let creative writing students read this book

12 April 2014 9:00 am

One of these is by Lydia Davis, acclaimed American writer. One is not. They are whole pieces, by the way,…

Samuel Beckett in Paris in the 1970s

A Beckett fagend rescued from a bin

12 April 2014 9:00 am

Spectator readers of my vintage will remember their first encounter with Beckett as vividly as their first lover’s kiss. For…

Sex and squalor in San Francisco

5 April 2014 9:00 am

Frog Music begins with a crime against a young mother, committed in a tiny space. Unlike Emma Donoghue’s bestselling novel…

Samuel Beckett walks into a nail bar

29 March 2014 9:00 am

It isn’t very often that a writer’s work is so striking that you can remember exactly where and when you…

Caught between a New Age rock and a theory junkie hard place

22 March 2014 9:00 am

Siri Hustvedt’s new novel isn’t exactly an easy read — but the casual bookshop browser should be reassured that it’s…

The making of a novelist

22 March 2014 9:00 am

Karl Ove Knausgaard was eight months old when his family moved to the island of Tromøya; he left it aged…

Madness and massacre in the jungle

15 March 2014 9:00 am

In his new novel, Children of Paradise, Fred D’Aguiar, a British-Guyanese writer, returns to the Jonestown massacre, previously the subject…

Lost Kerouac that should have stayed lost

15 March 2014 9:00 am

In 1944, when he was 22, Jack Kerouac lost a manuscript — in a taxi, as he thought, but probably…

The spy who came in from le Carré

8 March 2014 9:00 am

The single most terrifying moment of my adult life occurred at 8.55 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday 5 August…

Sometimes one story is worth buying a whole book for. This is one of those times

8 March 2014 9:00 am

Any new book by Lorrie Moore is a cause for rejoicing, but her first collection of short stories for 16…

An almost masochistic docility: E.M. Forster in his youth

What E.M. Forster didn't do

8 March 2014 9:00 am

‘On the whole I think you should write biographies of those you admire and respect, and novels about human beings…

Fairytales of racism

1 March 2014 9:00 am

A preview of Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird appeared in Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists issue in April last…

A family novel that pulls up the carpet before you're even in the door

22 February 2014 9:00 am

I first mistook David Gilbert’s second novel for the sort of corduroy-sleeved family saga at which American writers excel. The…

First novels: When romance develops from an old photograph

22 February 2014 9:00 am

The intensely lyrical Ghost Moth is set in Belfast in 1969, as the Troubles begin and when Katherine, housewife and…

Isabel Allende's Ripper doesn't grab you by the throat

15 February 2014 9:00 am

Isabel Allende is not an author one usually associates with the thrillers about serial killers. Ripper, however, lives up to…

How miserable a marriage can be

1 February 2014 9:00 am

In Never Mind Miss Fox, Olivia Glazebrook’s second novel, the revelation of a long buried secret releases a Pandora’s Box…

Fiction embroiled in the Profumo affair

1 February 2014 9:00 am

Sex, spies, aristocrats and atom bombs — the Profumo affair is in the news again, thanks to the recent Andrew…

A creepy father, a lustful music teacher, four virgins — and one genuine love affair

1 February 2014 9:00 am

London, 1794. It’s a different world from that portrayed by the Mrs Radcliffes and Anons of the time: rich young…

The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride - review

25 January 2014 9:00 am

James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird is set in the mid 19th century, and is based on the real life…

Write what you know — especially if it's the second world war

25 January 2014 9:00 am

Adam Foulds’s latest novel is less successful than its predecessor. In 2009 he reached the Booker shortlist with The Quickening…

A cruel novel about an India-born, world-famous, possibly real-life author

25 January 2014 9:00 am

It is six years since Hanif Kureishi’s last novel Something to Tell You, a kaleidoscopic meditation on life and death…