Book review – fiction

Jonathan Galassi’s fictional poet made me doubt my knowledge of American literature

15 August 2015 9:00 am

Jonathan Galassi is an American publisher, poet and translator. In his debut novel Muse, his passion for the ‘good old…

An epic study of trauma and friendship in the age of self-invention

15 August 2015 9:00 am

Just over a century after Virginia Woolf declared that ‘on or about December 1910 human character changed’, the American novelist…

A novel to cure fear of missing out

1 August 2015 9:00 am

Who’d be young? Not 25-year-old Tamsin, if her behaviour is anything to go by. A classical pianist who’s never quite…

The gangs of LA are caught in an unending bloody vendetta

1 August 2015 9:00 am

Ryan Gattis’s novel All Involved is set in South Central Los Angeles in 1992, during the riots that began after…

A broad farce about banking’s dirty secrets in post-Celtic-Tiger Dublin

1 August 2015 9:00 am

It’s not Paul Murray’s settings or themes — decadent aristocrats, clerical sex abuse, the financial crisis — that mark him…

A crime novel so incompetent it might have been written by a child

25 July 2015 9:00 am

First, a quote from the novel under review. The context: it is a flashback scene of the behaviour of a…

Atticus Finch (played by Gregory Peck) with his children Scout and Jem in the 1962 film version of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Go Set a Watchman should never have been hyped as a ‘landmark new novel’, says Philip Hensher

18 July 2015 9:00 am

Philip Hensher on the tangled history of To Kill a Mockingbird’s much-anticipated ‘sequel’

Author Ken Kalfus (Photo: Getty)

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and other characters to make you cry with laughter

11 July 2015 9:00 am

Coup de Foudre has a line from Antony and Cleopatra as its epigraph: ‘Some innocents ’scape not the thunderbolt.’ In…

Kamal Daoud (Photo: Getty)

The Outsider — from the viewpoint of the victim’s family

11 July 2015 9:00 am

In 1975 the Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, in a lecture at the University of Massachusetts, identified Joseph Conrad’s Heart of…

Jonathan Ames (Photo: Getty)

The best Jeeves and Wooster novel Saul Bellow never wrote

11 July 2015 9:00 am

Wake Up, Sir! is the latest novel by the American humourist Jonathan Ames; the book first appeared in the States…

Wrangles over the Rust Belt

4 July 2015 9:00 am

In the opening sentence of this subtle and finely poised novel, the narrator, Greg Marnier, known as ‘Marny’, admits that…

From conspiracy to childhood secrets: a choice of recent crime fiction

27 June 2015 9:00 am

The act of reading always involves identification: with the story, the characters, the author’s intentions. Renée Knight takes this concept…

Seeds of a mystery in a great-aunt’s will

27 June 2015 9:00 am

There is something cruelly beautiful, delightfully frustrating and filthily gorgeous about a Scarlett Thomas novel. Two family trees open and…

How really to annoy the neighbours: build a basement swimming-pool

27 June 2015 9:00 am

This book has brought out my inner Miliband. A punitive mansion tax on all properties with garden squares in Notting…

A moving tribute to Janusz Korczak, hero of the Warsaw ghetto

27 June 2015 9:00 am

‘My mother and father named me Aron, but my father said they should have named me What Have You Done,…

Shunned, slighted and starving in Sheffield — the Indian immigrants who have become Britain’s untouchables

27 June 2015 9:00 am

Novels of such scope and invention are all too rare; unusual, too, are those of real heart, whose characters you…

Milan Kundera’s fun-free festival

20 June 2015 9:00 am

We begin in Paris with an introduction to five insignificant friends. One (Ramon) is walking past the new Chagall exhibition,…

An Austenesque Aga saga with hints of postmodernism

13 June 2015 9:00 am

Lovely, gentle Isabel, just 40, makes masks. Her husband Dan, erstwhile ‘student of the Classics’ and playwright manqué, is ‘bored…

The dark side of Delhi

13 June 2015 9:00 am

When Sara discovers that her husband died in India, rather than being killed in Afghanistan as she was told, she…

Victoria as a child, by Richard Westall

Queen Victoria was born to be a novelist — this book proves it

6 June 2015 9:00 am

A wonderfully vivid school story has surfaced written by Queen Victoria as a child. The monarch was clearly a sensational novelist manqué, says Philip Hensher

Owen Sheers disregards the first commandment of novel-writing: to show, not tell

6 June 2015 9:00 am

This is a thriller, a novel of betrayal and separation, and a reverie on death and grieving. The only key…

If a novel about failure fails, does that make it a success?

6 June 2015 9:00 am

I must be an idiot for pointing out the failings of a novel that’s so screamingly, self-denouncingly about failure. Steve…

Finders Keepers is not so much a book as a shot-by-shot description of a future film

6 June 2015 9:00 am

Finders Keepers is a sort-of sequel to last year’s Mr Mercedes, Stephen King’s first foray into what he called ‘hard-boiled…

Fathers and sons — seen from multiple angles

30 May 2015 9:00 am

‘People talk about their childhood and it’s so mundane. I don’t remember much about it, if I’m honest. I can’t…

Elizabeth Day urges women to be more ‘me first’, less ‘no, no, after you’

30 May 2015 9:00 am

Paradise City, Elizabeth Day’s third novel, comes with an accompanying essay on The Pool — an online magazine for the…