Justin Cartwright

The Cauliflower®: Nicola Barker’s divine comedy

16 April 2016 9:00 am

Nicola Barker is both prodigiously talented and admirably fearless. I have loved her books. But for some time I had…

Fear, loneliness and nostalgia: a return to Johannesburg

24 October 2015 9:00 am

Oddly enough, the cabin service people on the plane are constantly eating during the night, helping themselves to the first-class…

Owen Sheers disregards the first commandment of novel-writing: to show, not tell

6 June 2015 9:00 am

This is a thriller, a novel of betrayal and separation, and a reverie on death and grieving. The only key…

Giotto’s ‘The Kiss of Judas’ in the Scrovegni Chapel, Padua

Justin Cartwright on redheads, anti-Semitism and the betrayal of Christ

4 April 2015 8:00 am

Peter Stanford is a writer on religious and ethical matters. He was for four years editor of the Catholic Herald.…

Philip Marsden gets close to the impenetrable secrets of Tintagel (left) and Bodmin Moor (right), among many other mysterious sites

The bonkers (and not-so-bonkers) theories of what the pre-historic people of Cornwall believed

18 October 2014 9:00 am

Philip Marsden’s book is about place. He makes a distinction between place and space. In his mind ‘place’ is something…

The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride - review

25 January 2014 9:00 am

James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird is set in the mid 19th century, and is based on the real life…

There's a corner of South Africa that considers itself French

21 September 2013 9:00 am

A corner of South Africa’s Cape that wants to be forever France

Justin Cartwright’s Diary

1 June 2013 9:00 am

Too often, I go to South African theatre with a sense of foreboding: I anticipate something overwrought, tendentious, poorly acted…

The tragedy of a hamlet

16 February 2013 9:00 am

Jim Crace’s novels have one thing in common, which is that each is set in an entirely original world. None…

A Barista’s Pupil

22 September 2012 10:40 am

Can just anyone learn to make a perfect cup of coffee?

Welcome to surreal Luton

21 July 2012 6:00 am

Nicola Barker’s new novel is set in Luton. You could hardly find a place in Britain  more emblematic of non-being.…

Putting the fun in fundamentalism

5 May 2012 11:00 am

Turnaround Books, the publishers of Timothy Mo’s remarkable Pure, are revealed to operate from Unit 3, Olympia Trading Estate, Coburg…

Road to ruins

21 April 2012 11:00 am

This is a delightful book, nostalgic, slyly witty, perceptive and at times flirting — deliberately — with old fogeyism. Tom…

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.


11 June 2011 12:00 am

Justin Cartwright opens his Diary

When the best defence is no defence

12 March 2011 12:00 am

This remarkable book is the account by their lawyer of the trial, imprisonment and sentencing to death in the late Eighties of a group of young men who came to be known as the Delmas Four.

Positively Kafkaesque

13 November 2010 12:00 am

This is a companion to a collection published earlier this year of Nadine Gordimer’s non-fiction, called Telling Times.

Taking on the turmoil

26 May 2010 12:00 am

Nadine Gordimer is now in her mid-eighties. For as long as I have been alive, she has been the towering figure of South African literature, a fact recognised in l991 by the Nobel committee. This is a collection of her non-fiction over 60 years, running to nearly 800 pages.

A canker on the rose

3 March 2010 12:00 am

This is a very short book with large type.

Decline in New York

20 January 2010 12:00 am

A connection between poetry and blindness is a classical trope.

The man who saved Oxford University

14 October 2009 12:00 am

As the controversial Dr Hood stands down as vice chancellor, those of us who resented his attempts to modernise should offer him our heartfelt apologies, says Justin Cartwright

To be mortal

2 September 2009 12:00 am

The Infinites, by John Banville

Zuluboy is here

22 April 2009 12:00 am

South Africa’s Brave New World: The Beloved Country since Apartheid, by R. W. Johnson
After the Party: Corruption and the ANC, by Andrew Feinstein

My memories of the American Dostoevsky

28 January 2009 12:00 am

Justin Cartwright recalls his conversations over the years with John Updike, who died this week, and the master’s contention that the only excuse for reading is to steal

Christmas Short Story

12 December 2008 12:00 am

When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas
by Justin Cartwright