Lee Langley

The Beatles arrive back to London after their Australian tour, 1964.  (Photo: Getty)

John Lennon’s desert island luxury

24 October 2015 9:00 am

Beatlebone is an account of a journey, a psychedelic odyssey, its protagonist — at times its narrator — John Lennon,…

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…

Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas (Photo: Getty)

Social comedy Peruvian-style

25 April 2015 9:00 am

Mario Vargas Llosa likes to counterpoint his darker novels with rosier themes: after the savagery of The Green House came…

Algerian author Boualem Sansa Photo: Getty

The most reviled mob in the Islamic world: free, independent women

29 November 2014 9:00 am

On the surface Harraga is the story of two ill-matched women colliding dramatically, with life-changing consequences. What emerges, in throwaway…


It's Henry James meets The Young Visiters, and someone needs to call social services

23 August 2014 9:00 am

Nina Stibbe has a way with children. Her first book, a memoir, was a deceptively wide-eyed view of a literary…


A lost treasure of Japanese fiction – pocket-sized but world class

17 May 2014 9:00 am

Think haiku, netsuke, moss gardens… Small is beautiful. Japanese art, a scholar of the culture once commented, is great in…


Who’s raiding the fridge?

3 May 2014 9:00 am

There is a problem with describing what happens in Nagasaki: impossible to reveal much of the plot without flagging up…

(Photo: Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty)

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…

'The Infatuations', by Javier Marías - review

9 March 2013 9:00 am

A café in Madrid. From her table across the room a solitary woman watches an attractive couple share breakfast morning…


Bookends: Short and sweet

11 February 2012 9:00 am

Before texts and Twitter there were postcards. Less hi-tech, but they kept people in touch. Angela Carter (pictured above) and…

Wool of bat and lizard leg

16 July 2011 12:00 am

When Julia Blackburn and her Dutch husband Herman move into an old village house perched on a cliff high above the Italian Ligurian Riviera they become part of a dwindling community in a landscape of forests and deserted villages with roofless ruins almost swallowed up by the riotous undergrowth.


Living dolls

22 January 2011 12:00 am

Born in Japan, growing up in America in the Sixties, Yoko Kawaguchi was perplexed by the persistence of what she felt to be an anachronistic image of Japanese culture: the geisha.


Indian snakes and ladders

17 March 2010 12:00 am

Award-winning poet Ruth Padel established her prose credentials with her autobiographical travel book, Tigers in Red Weather.

Beyond the guidebook

15 July 2009 12:00 am

Between the Assassinations is to summer reading what Slum-dog Millionaire was to feelgood movies: the book, like the film, beneath…

Sounding a different note

20 May 2009 12:00 am

Midsummer Nights, edited by Jeanette Winterson


On the waterfront

1 April 2009 12:00 am

Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, by Geoff Dyer

Troubled waters

21 January 2009 12:00 am

Empires of the Indus, by Alice Albinia

Stepping-stones of his past self

10 September 2008 12:00 am

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, by Paul Theroux

A romantic looks back

24 May 2007 9:41 am

The unending journey of this book takes Mark Tully from slums to skyscrapers as he explores the past, present and…

Tomb raider

12 April 2007 8:12 am

Following in the footsteps of a famous French Egyptologist

A marvel in marble

28 March 2007 2:55 pm

The Moghul monarchs’ way of life was an extravaganza of such breathtaking splendour that in comparison the Sun King’s Versailles…

A thousand bottles of Mumm

16 August 2006 3:29 pm

The front cover shows a mature English beauty in an Oriental doorway, elegant in a turban, with twinset and pearls.…

Bright light at the end of the tunnel

25 March 2006 12:00 am

Christine Brooke-Rose is not an easy read. She is a sublime roller- coaster: hold on and hurtle with her —…

. . . and a Parisian bombe surprise

1 January 2005 12:00 am

This is a French novel, a very French novel. The author won the Prix Goncourt for an earlier book and…

Breaking out of purdah

18 September 2004 12:00 am

Reading Maharanis has something of the poignant pleasure of rummaging in the attic of a great house fallen into desuetude:…