Book review

A Siberian exile prepares to shoot a black fox (c.1819)

Siberia beyond the Gulag Archipelago

16 August 2014 9:00 am

Larger than Europe and the United States combined, Siberia is an enormous swathe of Russia, spanning seven time zones and…

An anti-Soviet rally in Moscow, February 1991: Gorbachev’s reforms resulted in the rise of his nemesis, Yeltsin

It's not just Putin who misses the Soviet empire. President Bush did, too

12 July 2014 9:00 am

In the latest – and best – of the books on the end of the USSR, Victor Sebestyen finds that the only good thing about the Soviet empire was the manner of its passing

What! Has John Sutherland really not read Don Quixote from cover to cover?

Judge a critic by the quality of his mistakes

10 May 2014 9:00 am

What the title promises is not found inside. It is a tease. John Sutherland says he has ‘been paid one…

The great Ascension Day pageant of the Doge performing the marriage of the sea — already a tourist attraction in 17th-century Venice.

What Englishmen learnt from Europe

1 February 2014 9:00 am

A tour of the Continent was a prerequisite for young Jacobean noblemen training for statesmanship — provided they resisted its corrupting influence, says Blair Worden

When No Man's Land is home

25 January 2014 9:00 am

Countless writers and film-makers this year will be trying their hand at forcing us to wake up and smell the…

Scarlett O’Hara runs through the streets of burning Atlanta

'Where are the happy fictional spinsters?'

18 January 2014 9:00 am

This book arose from an argument. Lifelong bookworm Samantha Ellis and her best friend had gone to Brontë country and…

‘Grace Higgens in the Kitchen’ by Vanessa Bell

The Angel of Charleston, by Stewart MacKay - review

18 January 2014 9:00 am

Above the range in the kitchen at Charleston House is a painted inscription: ‘Grace Higgens worked here for 50 years…

'She's the most important Jewish writer since Kafka!'

11 January 2014 9:00 am

Ian Thomson on the turbulent life of Clarice Lispector

What was the secret of Queen Victoria's rebel daughter?

11 January 2014 9:00 am

Princess Louise (1848–1939), Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter, was the prettiest and liveliest of the five princesses, and the only one…

How we lost the seasons

4 January 2014 9:00 am

... for tomorrow traditional seasonal rituals may just be ghostly memories of a vanished world, says Melanie McDonagh

The Roth of tenderness and of rage

4 January 2014 9:00 am

In the autumn of 2012, Philip Roth told a French magazine that his latest book, Nemesis, would be his last.…

Do Manet's asparagus remind you of your struggling long-term relationship?

4 January 2014 9:00 am

In calling their book Art as Therapy Alain de Botton and John Armstrong have taken the direct route. They’re not…

Finally, a celebrity memoir worth reading

4 January 2014 9:00 am

Unlike many celebrity memoirs, Anjelica Huston’s is worth reading. In her Prologue she writes that as a child she modeled…

The many attempts to assassinate Trotsky

4 January 2014 9:00 am

Leon Trotsky’s grandson, Esteban Volkov, is a retired chemist in his early eighties. I met him not long ago in…

How honest was Bernard Berenson?

14 December 2013 9:00 am

Sam Leith suspects that even such a distinguished connoisseur as Bernard Berenson did not always play a straight bat

If only Craig Raine subjected his own work to the same critical scrutiny he applies to others' 

7 December 2013 9:00 am

Debunking reputations is now out of fashion, says Philip Hensher, and Craig Raine should give it up — especially as he always misses the point

The mad, mum-fixated maiden aunt of modernism

7 December 2013 9:00 am

Marianne Moore’s poems are notoriously ‘difficult’ but her personality and the circumstances of her life are as fascinating today as…

Curtains for kitty! How to care for cats — and how to kill them

7 December 2013 9:00 am

The New Yorker has always had a peculiar affinity with cats, perhaps because they have a lot in common —…

Hugo Rifkind's My Week reminds me why it's worth getting up on Saturdays

7 December 2013 9:00 am

‘Nothing’s funny any more’ has become the daily mantra of this magazine’s cartoon editor, Michael Heath. Thanks to Leveson, political…

The book that Boris should give to all seniors, along with their Freedom Passes

7 December 2013 9:00 am

The Death of Ivan Ilyich is a story for the older reader. One might go so far as to suggest…

Margaret Drabble tries to lose the plot

30 November 2013 9:00 am

Halfway through her new novel, Margaret Drabble tells us of Anna, the pure gold baby of the title, ‘There was…

Ann Patchett's new book will win you over, in spite of yourself

30 November 2013 9:00 am

Ann Patchett’s novels revel in the tightly constructed ecosystems imagined for their characters: an opera singer besieged among diplomats in…

Angel, by Elizabeth Taylor - review

30 November 2013 9:00 am

‘She wrote fiction?’ Even today, with the admirable ladies at Virago nearly finished reissuing her dozen novels, Elizabeth Taylor remains…

A book on Art Deco that's a work of art in itself — but where's the Savoy, Claridge's and the Oxo Tower? 

30 November 2013 9:00 am

Over the past 45 years, there have been two distinct and divergent approaches to Art Deco. One of them —…

'God has given me a new Turkish colleague called Mustapha Kunt...'

30 November 2013 9:00 am

Under normal circumstances, Simon Garfield’s chatty and informative excursion into the history of letter-writing would be a book to recommend.…