Fiction

The devastating effects of bigamy: Silver Sparrow, by Tayari Jones, reviewed

4 April 2020 9:00 am

Conservative estimates place the number of those in America with more than one spouse as up to 100,000, but the…

At last, a novel about the art world that rings true: Annalena Mcfee’s Nightshade reviewed

4 April 2020 9:00 am

On a winter’s night an artist of moderately exalted reputation and in lateish middle age journeys across London, away from…

His son’s death may have inspired some of Shakespeare’s greatest lines, but he never recovered from the loss

4 April 2020 9:00 am

Maggie O’Farrell is much possessed by death. Her first novel, After You’d Gone (2000), chronicled the inner life of a…

Even Anne Tyler can’t make a solitary Baltimore janitor sound interesting

4 April 2020 9:00 am

Micah Mortimer, the strikingly unproactive protagonist of Anne Tyler’s 23rd novel, is a man of such unswerving routine that his…

Violence and infidelity on sun-drenched Hydra: A Theatre for Dreamers, by Polly Samson, reviewed

4 April 2020 9:00 am

The beautiful Greek island of Hydra became home to a bohemian community of expats in the 1960s, including the Canadian…

Male violence pulses through Evie Wyld’s The Bass Rock

28 March 2020 9:00 am

‘It’s a woman’s thing, creation,’ says Sarah,a girl accused of witchcraft in 18th-century Scotland, in one of the three storylines…

Violence and cross-dressing in post-bellum Tennessee: A Thousand Moons, by Sebastian Barry, reviewed

21 March 2020 9:00 am

It was perhaps a mistake to re-read Sebastian Barry’s award-winning Days Without End before its sequel, A Thousand Moons, since…

A woman’s lot is not a happy one in: Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 reviewed

21 March 2020 9:00 am

‘Buy pink baby clothes,’Kim Jiyoung, the protagonist of this bestselling South Korean novel is told at the obstetrician’s surgery. Jiyoung’s…

If you haven’t read Louise Erdrich, now’s the time to start: The Night Watchman reviewed

14 March 2020 9:00 am

Louise Erdrich’s grandfather, Patrick Gourneau, was tribal chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa when the US Congress imposed…

The scars of public school: English Monsters, by James Scudamore, reviewed

7 March 2020 9:00 am

‘James Scudamore is now a force in the English novel,’ says Hilary Mantel on the cover of English Monsters, which,…

Knowing Thomas Cromwell’s fate only increases the tension: The Mirror & the Light, by Hilary Mantel, reviewed

7 March 2020 9:00 am

In 1540, he, himself, Lord Cromwell fell victim to the king’s caprice. His execution brings to a close one of English literature’s great trilogies, says Mark Lawson

Marina Lewycka’s The Good, the Bad and the Little Bit Stupid is completely bonkers

29 February 2020 9:00 am

Faced with Marina Lewycka’s new novel, it’s tempting to say that The Good, the Bad and the Little Bit Stupid…

Cosy, comforting and a bit inconsequential: Here We Are, by Graham Swift, reviewed

29 February 2020 9:00 am

There’s something — isn’t there? — of the literary also-ran about Graham Swift. He was on Granta’s first, influential Best…

Philip Hensher’s latest novel is a State of the Soul book

15 February 2020 9:00 am

This is a very nuanced and subtle novel by Philip Hensher, which manages the highwire act of treating its characters…

A dark emerald set in the Irish laureate’s fictional tiara: Actress, by Anne Enright, reviewed

15 February 2020 9:00 am

Actress is the novel Anne Enright has been rehearsing since her first collection of stories, The Portable Virgin (1991). It…

The wanderings of Ullis: Low, by Jeet Thayil, reviewed

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

Jeet Thayil’s previous novel, The Book of Chocolate Saints, an account of a fictional Indian artist and poet told in…

Desperate to preserve her sister Jane’s reputation, Cassandra Austen lost her own

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

Poor Cassy. The Miss Austen of this novel’s title is Cassandra, Jane’s elder sister. She was to have married Thomas…

Making mischief: J.M. Coetzee’s The Death of Jesus is one almighty tease

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

Late in this final volume of a tantalising trilogy, we hear that its enigmatic boy hero ‘would never tell you…

Does questioning women about their sex lives constitute harassment?

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

Alert to the combination of a controversial issue and a brilliant writer, Serpent’s Tail have bought This is a Pleasure,…

Varlam Shalamov’s Kolyma Tales are among the most harrowing in all literature

18 January 2020 9:00 am

‘I consist of the shards into which the Republic of Kolyma shattered me,’ Varlam Shalamov once told a fellow gulag…

Is it a Rake’s or a Pilgrim’s Progress for Rob Doyle?

18 January 2020 9:00 am

‘To live and die without knowing the psychedelic experience,’ says the narrator of Threshold, ‘is comparable to never having encountered…

Zimbabwe’s chaotic history has at least produced some outstanding fiction

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Tsitsi Dangarembga’s arresting Nervous Conditions appeared in 1988 and was the first novel published in English by a black Zimbabwean…

Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming is a long, hard slog

11 January 2020 9:00 am

The Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai, who sounds like a sneeze and reads like a fever, is on a mission to…

Bernadine Evaristo shoulders weighty themes lightly: Girl, Woman, Other reviewed

21 December 2019 9:00 am

It’s a slippery word, ‘other’. Taken in one light, it throws up barriers and insists on divisions. It is fearful…

Dave Eggers’s satire on Trump is somewhat heavy-handed: The Captain and the Glory reviewed

14 December 2019 9:00 am

A feckless moron is appointed to the captaincy of a ship, despite having no nautical experience. The Captain has a…