In search of kindred spirits: An Absence of Cousins, by Lore Segal, reviewed

20 July 2024 9:00 am

When Ilka Weisz, a young refugee from Vienna, accepts a teaching post in smalltown Connecticut, she struggles to make friends in the close-knit academic community

Next time, I’m swimming to Calais

13 July 2024 9:00 am

Friends in Calais invited me to their baby’s birthday party. He’s a year old. They suggested an overnight stay and…

My (surprisingly) decent proposal

20 April 2024 9:00 am

‘Like being chained to a lunatic.’ That’s how a man feels in relation to his libido. And the lunatic latches…

Dear Mary

5 August 2023 9:00 am

A study of isolation: The Late Americans, by Brandon Taylor, reviewed

24 June 2023 9:00 am

A group of students in Iowa City meet in bars and seminar rooms, but, separated by class, race and wealth, their connection is only fleeting

Friendships and rivalries in the golden age of Oxford philosophy

13 May 2023 9:00 am

Nikhil Krishnan provides many amusing vignettes of Isaiah Berlin, A.J. Ayer, Gilbert Ryle and others in the heyday of linguistic philosophy

Dear Mary: How do I get my friends to leave after a dinner party?

10 September 2022 9:00 am

Q. We have made available our mews cottage – 30 yards from our main house – to a woman with…

Why your more successful friends will drop you

3 September 2022 9:00 am

How success kills friendships

Dear Mary: How can I find out whether old friends fancy each other?

27 August 2022 9:00 am

Q. How can I find out, without making things awkward, whether one of my close male friends fancies one of…

Dear Mary: Can I ask our hosts to look for my husband’s tooth in the flowerbed?

13 August 2022 9:00 am

Q. My 74-year-old husband was having drinks in the garden of some young clients when he bit down on an…

Dear Mary: How do I stop a mutual friend giving my contact details to a man I don’t like?

30 July 2022 9:00 am

Q. Everyone was divine at a very jolly lunch I attended in the Cotswolds with the exception of one person,…

A twist on the American classic: The Sidekick, by Benjamin Markovits, reviewed

4 June 2022 9:00 am

On the cover of The Sidekick, just below a broken basketball hoop, a quote from Jonathan Lethem suggests Benjamin Markovits…

The close friend I never really knew

28 May 2022 9:00 am

I have just read an extraordinary new book. It’s by a close and old pal whom I’d count as one…

A podcast with real emotional heft: Philippa Perry’s Siblings in Session reviewed

7 May 2022 9:00 am

Have you ever taken a piece of advice? I’m not asking a rhetorical question. Have you ever once in your…

Mismatched from the start: One Day I Shall Astonish the World, by Nina Stibbe, reviewed

16 April 2022 9:00 am

First the bad news: Nina Stibbe’s new novel does not feature Lizzie Vogel, the engaging narrator of the trilogy that…

Male friendship is in crisis

9 April 2022 9:00 am

The decline of male friendship

Dear Mary: What’s the etiquette of tipping takeaway delivery drivers?

12 March 2022 9:00 am

Q. Rory Sutherland recently wrote about high-end takeaways (Wiki Man, 19 February). In the last London lockdown, I was fortunate…

Dear Mary: How do I stop my new friend leaving me broke?

5 March 2022 9:00 am

Q. Recently I started hanging out with a new friend. We are both in our twenties, single, and usually go…

Dear Mary: How do I tell my friends that napkin rings are the height of naff?

26 February 2022 9:00 am

Q. Three weeks ago I banged my head on the lower branch of our near neighbours’ tree, which I couldn’t…

Can I really be turning 80?

5 February 2022 9:00 am

A princess of Hanover wrote in her diary: ‘My 30th birthday. There must be some mistake.’ Substitute 30th for 80th…

Dear Mary: How can I stop unexpected visitors using my loo?

29 January 2022 9:00 am

Q. I treat myself to a manicure every ten days. It’s a 30-minute appointment and the girl I use is…

Dear Mary: Do I have to display my friend’s awful painting?

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Q. A long-standing artist friend, whose work now commands high prices, has sent me out of the blue a present…

Dear Mary: How do I get my masseuse to stop talking?

30 October 2021 9:00 am

Q. Our two daughters often bring friends down for the weekend. These friends are more than welcome; we enjoy their…

Dear Mary: Should I pay to charge my electric car at a friend’s house?

9 October 2021 9:00 am

Q. An acquaintance suggested organising a celebratory dinner in honour of some mutual friends. He asked my husband and me,…

Dear Mary: How do I stop my grey-haired friend giving away my true age?

25 September 2021 9:00 am

Q. I never lie about my age but I try not to think — or talk — about it. Now…