The Golden Hour by William Nicholson

29 October 2011 11:00 am

He’s got a winning formula, this writer, and he’s sticking to it. Set the action over seven days, in and…

The Thread by Victoria Hislop

29 October 2011 10:00 am

Oh what a tangled web she weaves! Victoria Hislop’s third novel, the appropriately titled The Thread, is pleasingly complex. The…

Golden corn

6 August 2011 12:00 am

Is Sebastian Barry writing tragedy, or melodrama?

Infuriating brilliance

6 August 2011 12:00 am

A.L. Kennedy's prose makes you forget all her faults

Something happens to everyone

6 August 2011 12:00 am

A quietly brilliant debut novel

A choice of first novels

30 July 2011 12:00 am

As L.P. Hartley noted, the past is a foreign country: they do things differently there. And no more so than during the two world wars, a fact that has provided a rich seam for several debut novelists to mine this summer.

Recent crime fiction

23 July 2011 12:00 am

John Lawton’s Inspector Troy series constantly surprises.


The revised version

23 July 2011 12:00 am

The narrator of Julian Barnes’s novella has failed disastrously to understand his first love. David Sexton admires this skilful story, but finds something missing

The man who came to dinner

9 July 2011 12:00 am

Each year Genevieve Lee holds an ‘alternative’ dinner party, to which she invites, along with her friends, a couple of people she wouldn’t ordinarily mix with — a Muslim, say, or homosexual.

Chinese whispers

2 July 2011 12:00 am

River of Smoke begins with the storm that struck the convict ship the Ibis at the end of Amitav Ghosh’s 2008 Man Booker-shortlisted Sea of Poppies.


Golden lads and girls

2 July 2011 12:00 am

Sam Leith tracks the careers of Alan Hollinghurst’s captivating new characters through youthful exuberance to old age, dust and a literary afterlife

When more is less

25 June 2011 12:00 am

If you know anything at all about Cynthia Ozick — an officially accredited grande dame in America, less famous in Britain — you won’t be surprised to hear that her new novel is influenced by Henry James.

Mumbai and Mammon

25 June 2011 12:00 am

This is a state of the nation novel or more accurately a state of Mumbai novel.


Bookends: When will there be good news?

18 June 2011 12:00 pm

I am in love with Jackson Brodie. Does this mean that, in a literary homoerotic twist, I am actually in love with Kate Atkinson, his creator? I think it must. Sometimes I think I am Jackson Brodie. We share many traits: 50-odd, mid-life crisis, a lost (though in my case not murdered) sister. I know that it’s really Kate Atkinson who is Jackson Brodie. She must have a lost or murdered sister, mustn’t she?  

Those who die like cattle

18 June 2011 12:00 am

An ex-farmer whose brother has died fighting in Iraq is the man at the centre of Graham Swift’s new book, a state-of-the-nation novel on a small canvas.

We are the past

4 June 2011 12:00 am

Julie Myerson’s eighth novel is told by a woman who roams the City of London after an unspecified apocalypse (no power, bad weather).

Pearls before swine

4 June 2011 12:00 am

The story of Harry the Valet is the stuff of fiction.

Victorian rough and tumble

28 May 2011 12:00 am

Derby Day is meticulously plotted and written with bouncy confidence.


The way to dusty death

21 May 2011 12:00 am

Beryl Bainbridge’s last novel is a haunting echo of her own final years, according to A. N. Wilson

Freudian slip

14 May 2011 12:00 am

At Last is the fifth — and, it’s pretty safe to say, most eagerly awaited — of Edward St Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose novels.

Doomed to disillusion

7 May 2011 12:00 am

The Forgotten Waltz is one of those densely recapitulative novels that seek to interpret emotional crack-up from the angle of its ground-down aftermath.


The world according to ants

23 April 2011 12:00 am

The South American rain forest is the perfect environment for a dank, uncomfortable thriller.

Beastly behaviour

23 April 2011 12:00 am

If the production team of The Archers ever needs a scriptwriter at short notice, they need look no further than Miranda France.


. . . or sensing impending doom

23 April 2011 12:00 am

‘What am I? A completely ordinary person from the so-called higher reaches of society.

Random questions

23 April 2011 12:00 am

British writers who set their first novels in America are apt to come horribly unstuck.