The view from the top

3 March 2012 10:00 am

Halfway through this book, the veil lifted, and I thought: ‘I see! I see what he’s trying to do!’ Pickering…

Tragedy of Antigone

3 March 2012 10:00 am

Sofka Zinovieff’s absorbing first novel has two narrative voices. Maud is the English widow of Nikitas, whose death in a…

A choice of recent thrillers

3 March 2012 9:00 am

Sam Bourne’s new thriller, Pantheon (HarperCollins, £12.99), is set just after Dunkirk in the darkest days of the second world…

Our man in Vienna

25 February 2012 10:00 am

Just in case Private Eye smells a rat, let me put my cards on the table. Not once, but twice,…

Many parts of man

18 February 2012 10:00 am

In some ways, you’ve got to hand it to Craig Raine. Two years ago, after a distinguished career as a…

Winter wonderland

18 February 2012 10:00 am

Jack and Mabel move to Alaska to try to separate themselves from a tragedy — the loss of their only…


Bookends: A network of kidney-nappers

18 February 2012 9:00 am

Raylan Givens, an ace detective in the Raymond Chandler mould, has encountered just about every shakedown artist and palooka in…

Frank exchange of views

11 February 2012 10:00 am

Solomon Kugel is morbidly obsessed with death: his own, and that of those he loves, including his wife Bree and…

Intrigue and foreboding

11 February 2012 10:00 am

In 2009, Alone in Berlin, Hans Fallada’s masterpiece about civilian resistance to Nazism, appeared in English for the first time.…


Menace, mystery and decadence

11 February 2012 10:00 am

Richard Davenport-Hines on the seamy side of interwar Alexandria, as depicted by Lawrence Durrell


Bookends: Trouble and strife

4 February 2012 10:00 am

It isn’t true that Joanna Trollope (pictured above) only produces novels about the kind of people who have an Aga…

A choice of first novels

4 February 2012 10:00 am

Mountains of the Moon is narrated by a woman just released after spending ten years in jail. The reason for…

Finding Mr Wright

28 January 2012 5:00 pm

The film When Harry Met Sally may be infamous for the scene in which the heroine mimics orgasm in a…

The phantom lover

28 January 2012 10:00 am

Driving past several long abandoned second- world-war airfields in East Anglia last year I was struck by how spooky they…

Chaos and the old order

28 January 2012 10:00 am

If Gregor von Rezzori is known to English language readers, it is likely to be through his tense, disturbing novel…

Questioning tales

7 January 2012 10:00 am

Tessa Hadley’s previous book, The London Train, was one of the best novels of last year, though overlooked by prize…

Lake Michigan days

7 January 2012 10:00 am

It is probably hard to enjoy this new big novel from America without some understanding of the shortstop’s position on…

Rather a cold fish

31 December 2011 10:00 am

Published first novel (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) at the age of 59, Richard and Judy choice, won Bollinger Everyman…


Poison Ivy

17 December 2011 9:00 pm

‘Who was she?’, a browser might ask on finding three re-issued novels by Ivy Compton-Burnett, and ‘Why should I read…


Bookends: Saving JFK

10 December 2011 11:00 am

Stephen King’s latest novel is a time-travel fantasy about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. At almost 750 pages, 11.22.63…


Lifelong death wish

10 December 2011 10:00 am

In February 2009, in a review in these pages of Stefan Zweig’s unfinished novel, The Post Office Girl, I wrote:…

Recent crime novels

3 December 2011 11:00 am

The crop of recent crime fiction is generously sprinkled with well-known names; as far as its publishers are concerned, Christmas…


Bookends: Not filthy enough

26 November 2011 11:00 am

The Pursued (Penguin, £12.99) is a lost crime thriller by C. S. Forester, the author of the Hornblower novels. It…

A literary curio

26 November 2011 11:00 am

Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac, better known as Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), the son of French-Canadians spiced with the blood of Mohawk…


Children’s Books: Myth and magic

26 November 2011 10:00 am

It was the second week of term and my grandson’s birthday. He had just started at primary school and the…