Books

Beach murder antique illustration

Murder most foul in Victorian Greenwich

23 July 2016 9:00 am

With the current political saga running in our heads, trumping all other stories, it has been hard to concentrate on…

Novelist Helen Oyeyemi (Photo: Getty)

The latest African authors take on globalisation

23 July 2016 9:00 am

In a Johannesburg mall, a listless and lonely IT worker chats with his dad about the bitter fruits of upward…

‘The Road to Siberia’ by Sergei Dmitrievich Miloradovich

Siberia: always a byword for despotism

23 July 2016 8:00 am

Owen Matthews on the horrific early history of the largest open-air prison in the world

The two victory towers at Ghazna, Afghanistan, with the citadel in the background. To the left are the remains of the tower commissioned by Sultan Masud III ibn Ibrahim (r. 1099–1115). The tower on the right was built on the orders of Bahram Shah (r. 1117–1157)

Conquest and vandalism in Central Asia

23 July 2016 8:00 am

When I first visited the complex of Buddhist cave grottoes, dating from the fifth to the 14th century, at Bezekilk…

Evelyn Waugh in the 1920s

50 years on, here comes Evelyn Waugh's nicer side

16 July 2016 9:00 am

It is 50 years since the death of Evelyn Waugh. Mark Amory wonders if there is anything we don’t know about him

Ancient worlds collide: Alexander and Porus at the Battle of Hydaspes, in what is now Punjab, painted by Charles Le Brun, 1673

Yes, classicists ignore the East – this books shows why

16 July 2016 9:00 am

Classics is a boastful subject. Even the name — classics — has an inner boast; as does the classics course…

Journalist Susan Faludi as she sits at a table, early 1990s (Photo: Getty)

What Susan Faludi learned from her dad Stefánie

16 July 2016 9:00 am

In 2004, after a 25-year estrangement, Susan Faludi’s father reappeared in her life via email. ‘I have had enough of…

Place your bets: a state lottery office in Naples, 1955 (Photo: Getty)

The Day Before Happiness jumps on the Neapolitan bandwagon

16 July 2016 9:00 am

Naples, ragamuffin capital of the Italian south, is reckoned to be a hive of pickpocketing and black-market manoeuvrings. (A Neapolitan…

Royal Marine commandos coming ashore on Juno Beach, 9 a.m., 6 June 1944. The Allies fixed a tidally perfect day to land using a Victorian music machine

The dizzying truth about tides

16 July 2016 9:00 am

The tour guides of Ephesus, in Turkey, have a nice party trick to wake up their dozing coach passengers. As…

Light at the end of the tunnel

A Field Guide to Reality plays superbly with mystery, trickery and scholarship

16 July 2016 9:00 am

‘Transparency,’ remarks Eliade Jenks, narrator of Joanna Kavenna’s fourth novel, A Field Guide to Reality, ‘is an aspiration. But wouldn’t…

Ocean Mist

Jenn Ashworth’s fourth novel charts a family’s struggle with sickness and loss over generations

16 July 2016 9:00 am

After a curtain-twitching cul-de-sac, a Preston shopping precinct, and the Church of the Latter-Day Saints brought to Lancashire, Jenn Ashworth…

‘Three Mackerel’ (oil on board), Sara Hayward, private collection Bridgeman Art Gallery

Squirrel pie? Now try freshly beheaded turtle

9 July 2016 9:00 am

Elisabeth Luard chews over the relationship between food and place, but her rich concoction doesn’t quite hit the spot, says Philip Hensher

Cats eye close-up

What happens in the wake of The Wake

9 July 2016 9:00 am

The Wake, Paul Kingsnorth’s Booker-longlisted debut novel, was set just after the Norman Conquest, and was told in an odd…

The Siege of Jerusalem, 1099: Christian knights hacked down thousands of Jews and Muslims in the name of God

Why the crusades ended – and jihad goes on

9 July 2016 9:00 am

First a confession. Like many modern British readers, I have contracted a severe case of Jihad Overload Syndrome. Symptoms of…

Designs for wallpaper with a vine pattern by William Morris

Who let A.S. Byatt publish Peacock and Vine?

9 July 2016 9:00 am

There is a moment at the start of most authors’ careers when it is hard to get anything published, and…

Cutlery Isolated

Book review: Oneida unveils a bizarre 19th-century ‘commune’ in New York State

9 July 2016 9:00 am

There were two communist manifestos of 1848. One had no influence whatsoever on the revolutions of that year, but now…

Author James Kelman (Photo: Getty)

James Kelman plays Memphis

9 July 2016 9:00 am

When James Kelman won the Man Booker prize for How Late it Was, How Late, one judge stormed out, calling…

Lord George-Brown collapses outside the Palace of Westminster in 1976 after announcing his resignation from the Labour party. His fall was widely assumed to be the result of his heavy drinking

How drunk do we want our MPs?

9 July 2016 9:00 am

In 1964, a newly elected Labour MP was put in charge of the House of Commons kitchen committee. (An unpromising…

Coal-blakened rescue miners after the disaster in 1958  (Photo: Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty)

A tribe of one's own

9 July 2016 9:00 am

In his preface Sebastian Junger tells us that this book grew out of an earlier article. It obviously didn’t grow…

Decisions about the future

Are we really all curators now?

9 July 2016 9:00 am

In January 1980 Isaac Asimov, writer of ‘hard science fiction’, professor of bio-chemistry and vice-president of Mensa International, penned a…

Magnifying glass over footsteps

Consequences with corpses: a new novel from the Detection Club

9 July 2016 9:00 am

The Detection Club is rather like the House of Lords of British crime writing, though considerably more select. (I should…

‘Stack building, Malvern Hills’, by Laura Knight

A.E. Housman: the laureate of repression

2 July 2016 9:00 am

A.E. Housman’s poems leave us with the impression of fire that has been carefully wrapped in ice, says Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

Author Rose Tremain (Photo: Getty)

Rose Tremain’s The Gustav Sonata strikes all the right notes

2 July 2016 9:00 am

Rose Tremain sets the true story of Police Captain Paul Grüninger, commander of the Swiss border force in Canton Saint…

A stylish Parisienne catches the eye of a German officer at the Auteuil races, March 1941

Keeping up appearances in 1940s Paris

2 July 2016 9:00 am

‘La France,’ as everyone knows, is female. Perhaps this is due to gendered assumptions about the beauty, cuisine and couture…

Poet Craig Raine (Photo: Getty)

Craig Raine: the critics’ greatest critic

2 July 2016 9:00 am

In My Grandmother’s Glass Eye, Raine has nothing but contempt for his poet-critic contemporaries – ‘bad readers’ who ‘get poetry wrong’