Wynn Wheldon

Middle-class marriage — and an apologia for adultery

21 January 2017 9:00 am

What to make of this unexpectedly startling novel? Though you may be lured into a false sense of familiarity by…

A son’s search for the mother he never met

24 September 2016 9:00 am

To tell this story of his search for a mother lost to mystery in early infancy, its author uses the…

Louise Doughty’s Black Water will delight fans of Graham Greene and John le Carré

11 June 2016 9:00 am

In Indonesia in 1965–6 half a million communists and supposed communist sympathisers were murdered by a range of civilian and…

Anthony Quinn’s Freya: an engaging costume drama

5 March 2016 9:00 am

The name Freya is derived from the old Norse word for ‘spouse’, perhaps Odin’s. As a goddess she is variously…

To the ends of the earth — but not back

7 November 2015 9:00 am

What’s in a name? The identity of the author offers a clue to one of the themes of this intriguing…

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,…

All change: everything metamorphoses in Aquarium, including its author, who takes on the persona of a 12-year-old girl

14 March 2015 9:00 am

Books ought to be able to stand on their own, but perhaps it is important to know this about David…

A ghost story without the scary bits

24 January 2015 9:00 am

Two men walk into an ice cream parlour in Austin, Texas, order the three teenage girls working there to undress,…

A big literary beast's descent into incoherence

8 November 2014 9:00 am

Something odd happened between the advance publicity for this book and its printed appearance. Trailed as addressing the troubled history…

Things to do: read this book

1 November 2014 9:00 am

It would be perverse not to succumb to the temptation to write this review as a list. So, the first…

Kafka goes to Dubai

30 August 2014 9:00 am

‘X’ is in ‘the Situation’: Joseph O’Neill, author of the clever and superb Netherland, hereby lets us know that his…

Sorbet with Rimbaud

23 August 2014 9:00 am

The Bloomsbury of the title refers to the place, not the group. The group didn’t have a poet. ‘I would…

The Zone of Interest is grubby, creepy – and Martin Amis's best for 25 years

16 August 2014 9:00 am

‘Everybody could see that this man was not a “monster”, but it was difficult indeed not to suspect that he…

Nature inspired P.J. Kavanagh – but so did ghosts, dreams, grief and God

7 June 2014 9:00 am

P.J. Kavanagh, if not dismissed or relegated, is often shall we say bracketed, as a ‘nature poet’. The truth is,…

Half-poetry, half-prose, half-Belgian – and not half bad

3 May 2014 9:00 am

Patrick McGuinness’s prose trembles on the edge of poetry, occasionally indeed tipping gently over into it. This is thoroughly characteristic…

A master craftsman of the anecdote

15 March 2014 9:00 am

One of the many charms of this book is its sheer unexpectedness, which makes it hard to review, for to…

Deserter, wifebeater, great poet: the shame and glory of Vernon Scannell

14 December 2013 9:00 am

Vernon Scannell was a thief, a liar, a deserter, a bigamist, a fraud, an alcoholic, a woman-beater and a coward.…

A Strong Song Tows Us, by Richard Burton - review

12 October 2013 9:00 am

How minor is minor? ‘Rings a bell’ was more or less the response of two English literature graduates, now successful…

Six Bad Poets, by Christopher Reid - review

28 September 2013 9:00 am

Is poetry in good enough health to be made fun of in this way? The irony is that this long,…

There and Then: Personal Terms 6, by Frederic Raphael - review

31 August 2013 9:00 am

Frederic Raphael is forensic in his description of the failures of successful people. He is enviously superior and he is…

Country Boy, by Richard Hillyer - review

10 August 2013 9:00 am

Under his real name, Charles James Stranks, the author of this little masterpiece wrote on a number of ecclesiastical subjects:…

A Slap in the Face, by William B. irvine - review

3 August 2013 9:00 am

A friend of mine who works for the NHS has been told recently by a superior that his ‘attention to…

Z, by Therese Anne Fowler, Beautiful Fools, by R. Clifton Spargo, Careless People, by Sarah Churchill - review

1 June 2013 9:00 am

The Great Gatsby is one of those great works of literature, like Pride and Prejudice, that appeals as much to…

Holloway, by Robert Macfarlane - review

11 May 2013 9:00 am

This is a very short book recording two visits to the hills around Chideock in Dorset.In the first Robert Macfarlane…

'Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls', by David Sedaris - review

27 April 2013 9:00 am

David Sedaris writes principally for The New Yorker. Urbane, then, American, smart. But is he a memoirist, a fabulist or…