Frustrating but enjoyable

7 July 2010 12:00 am

If we didn’t already know that Milan Kundera is one of Craig Raine’s literary heroes, then it wouldn’t be too hard to work it out from his first novel.


Secrets and silences

30 June 2010 12:00 am

Charlotte Moore’s family have lived at Hancox on the Sussex Weald for well over a century.


Not as sweet as he seemed

16 June 2010 12:00 am

There are already three biographies of E. M. Forster: P. N. Furbank’s two- volume, authorised heavyweight; Nicola Beauman’s less compendious, more engaging middleweight; and my own bantamweight, little more than an extended essay.


Odd men out

16 June 2010 12:00 am

The first game played by the Allahakbarries Cricket Club at Albury in Surrey in September 1887 did not bode well for the club’s future.


Our squandered national treasure

14 April 2010 12:00 am

Torn with grief, Melvyn Bragg has produced a condolence book for the South Bank Show (born 1978, died of neglect, 2010).


Scourge of the ancien régime

14 April 2010 12:00 am

Voltaire’s was a long and amazing life.

Prize-winning novels from France

30 December 2009 12:00 am

After an unremarkable year for fiction the Prix Goncourt was awarded to Marie Ndiaye for a novel — actually three novellas — which must have beguiled the judges by the sheer unfamiliarity of its contents.

Enjoyer and endurer

14 December 2009 12:00 am

I approached the late David Nokes’s scholarly book with some trepidation, having heard that it had been criticised for its apparent dismissal of James Boswell.

Squeaks and squawks

14 December 2009 12:00 am

Jonathan Cecil is nostalgic for the voices of the Bloomsberries

Recent books for children

9 December 2009 12:00 am

One thing which struck me immediately on surveying the books on offer for children this Christmas is the large number which are really toys, with only a minor bookish element.

Delight and horror

11 November 2009 12:00 am

‘Everything that the lovingest of husbands can express to the best of wives, & love to the little ones, not forgetting the kicker in the dark,’ Jack Verney wrote to his pregnant wife in 1683.

Voices of change

21 October 2009 12:00 am

Not every writer would begin a history of the 1950s with a vignette in which the young Keith Waterhouse treads on Princess Margaret by mistake.