Deviation and double entendre

17 March 2012 10:00 am

If there’s anything full-time novelists hate more than a celebrity muscling in on their turf, it’s the celebrity doing such…

A matter of life and death

10 March 2012 11:00 am

Hmm. Of the 30-plus characters in this novel, not one is both black and British. Odd, since it’s set in…

Thirty years on

10 March 2012 11:00 am

One of the pleasures of Alan Judd’s books is their sheer variety. His work includes biographies of Ford Madox Ford…

Apocalypse now

10 March 2012 10:00 am

The blurb on the front of Grace McCleen’s debut novel (from Room author Emma Donoghue) proclaims it to be ‘extraordinary’,…

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…

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…


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

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…

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…

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…


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:…

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…

Pea-soupers and opium dens

19 November 2011 10:00 am

So: does Moriarty exist, or not? Well no, not really, and not just in the literal sense of being a…

Bird Brain by Guy Kennaway

12 November 2011 11:00 am

Basil Peyton-Crumbe is a multi-millionaire landowner. An embattled man known to all, even his dogs, as ‘Banger’, he claims to…

The legacies of Jennifer Johnston

12 November 2011 11:00 am

Cross the soaring Foyle Bridge from the East and take the route to Donegal. Shortly before you cross the border…

The ripple effect

5 November 2011 12:00 pm

Penelope Lively’s new novel traces the consequences of a London street mugging. As the culprit sprints away with a handbag,…

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

5 November 2011 11:00 am

Jonathan Franzen. David Foster Wallace. Jeffrey Eugenides. Giant, slow-moving, serious writers, notching up about a novel per decade, all with…

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

5 November 2011 10:00 am

In the 26 years since the publication of her highly acclaimed first novel, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, Jeanette…