Fiction

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By the book: The NSA is behaving like a villain in a 1950s novel

18 January 2014 9:00 am

The continuing drip-feed of stories about governments and friendly-seeming internet giants sifting through our data has left some citizens feeling…

Woman in black: Madeleine St John, due for revival. 
‘Her steadiest relationships were with a series of cats’

Breakdowns, suicide attempts — and four great novels

18 January 2014 9:00 am

Among the clever young Australians who came over here in the 1960s to find themselves and make their mark, a…

trot

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…

Margaret Drabble at the offices of publisher McLelland Stewart Photo: Toronto Star via Getty

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 Photo: The Washington Post via Getty Images

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…

Elizabeth Taylor (left) chats with Pamela Hansford Johnson, 1954 Photo: Getty

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…

Thirty Years on2

Rebus is good, but not as sharp as he once was

16 November 2013 9:00 am

Cig 1 Auld Reekie . . . Edinburgh . . . brewers’ town, stinking of beer, whisky, tweeness, gentility, hypocrisy,…

(Photo: The Art Archive/Anthony Stewart / NGS)

The thrill of the (postmodern neo-Victorian) chase

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Charles Palliser’s debut novel The Quincunx appeared as far back as 1989. Lavish and labyrinthine, this shifted nigh on a…

Black Sheep 2

Village life can be gripping

2 November 2013 9:00 am

Black Sheep opens biblically, with a mining village named Mount of Zeal, which is ‘built in a bowl like an…

Jeeves

The imitable Jeeves

2 November 2013 9:00 am

For as long as I can remember — I take neither pleasure nor pride in the admission — I have…

Cuba

Carlos Acosta, the great dancer, should be a full-time novelist

2 November 2013 9:00 am

Carlos Acosta, the greatest dancer of his generation, grew up in Havana as the youngest of 11 black children. Money…

‘The Goldfinch’ by Carl Fabritius, the theft of which is central to Donna Tartt’s new novel

Donna Tartt can do the thrills but not the trauma

12 October 2013 9:00 am

Donna Tartt is an expert practitioner of what David Hare has called ‘the higher hokum’. She publishes a long novel…

What a coincidence

12 October 2013 9:00 am

If you are going to read a novel that plays with literary conventions you want it written with aplomb. In…

Colonel Georges Picquart

An Officer and a Gentleman, by Robert Harris - review

5 October 2013 9:00 am

The Dreyfus Affair, the furore caused by a miscarriage of justice in France in 1894, is a source of perennial…

Stephen King isn't as scary as he used to be, but 'Doctor Sleep' is still a cracker

5 October 2013 9:00 am

Though alcohol withdrawal is potentially fatal, booze has none of the media-confected glitz of heroin (imagine Will Self boasting of…

Monsieur le Commandant, by Romain Slocombe - review

28 September 2013 9:00 am

There can be few characters in modern fiction more unpleasant than Paul-Jean Husson, the narrator in Romain Slocombe’s Monsieur le…

One Night in Winter, by Simon Sebag Montefiore - review

28 September 2013 9:00 am

Simon Sebag Montefiore’s One Night in Winter begins in the hours immediately following the solemn victory parade that marked the…

Expo 58, by Jonathan Coe - review

21 September 2013 9:00 am

In 1958 a vast international trade fair was held just outside Brussels. As well as being a showcase for industry,…

The Windsor Faction, by D.J. Taylor - review

14 September 2013 9:00 am

In both his novels and non-fiction, D. J. Taylor has long been fascinated by the period between the wars. Now…

Multiples, edited by Adam Thirlwell - review

14 September 2013 9:00 am

There is a hoary Cold War joke about a newly invented translating machine. On a test run, the CIA scientists…

Mr Loverman, by Bernardine Evaristo - review

14 September 2013 9:00 am

In 1998, the Jamaican singer Bounty Killer released a single, ‘Can’t Believe Mi Eyes’, which expressed incredulity that men should…

Almost English, by Charlotte Mendelson - review

7 September 2013 9:00 am

Novels about growing up have two great themes: loss of innocence and the forging of identity. With this sparky, sharp-eyed…

TO GO WITH STORY BY M.J. SMITHA family

419 by Will Ferguson - review

7 September 2013 9:00 am

The term ‘419’ is drawn from the article in the Nigerian penal code that addresses fraud. However, it has transcended…

Lion Heart by Justin Cartwright - review

31 August 2013 9:00 am

Justin Cartwright is famously a fan of John Updike — and here he seems to owe a definite debt to…

The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer - review

31 August 2013 9:00 am

Thick, sentimental and with a narrative bestriding four decades, Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings feels above all like a Victorian novel,…