Books

Debussy appears to have had no real sympathy for, or interest in, other people

Debussy: the musical genius who erupted out of nowhere

24 February 2018 9:00 am

That was Debussy’s guiding principle – and his music has been a lifelong pleasure for Philip Hensher, too

Laura Freeman reads her way out of anorexia

24 February 2018 9:00 am

It is hard to be honest about anorexia. The illness breeds deceit and distortion: ‘It thrives on looking-glass logic. It…

A nightly occurrence in Tegucigalpa. Forensic officers inspect a crime scene involving the execution of six men in drug-related gang warfare

Is Tegucigalpa the crime capital of the world?

24 February 2018 9:00 am

The Spanish journalist Alberto Arce worked for Associated Press in Honduras in 2012 and 2013. After a year, he says:…

The Adulterants: a caustic take on London’s brutal property market

24 February 2018 9:00 am

Often a blurb exaggerates, but rarely does it fundamentally misrepresent (unless it contains the words ‘In the tradition of…’). The…

Portrait of Franco as Generalissimo

Spain has effectively obliterated Franco’s memory

24 February 2018 9:00 am

Spanish restaurants in Germany are relatively rare, but not nearly as rare as biographies of General Franco. So when the…

The body count piles up in Mick Herron’s London Rules

24 February 2018 9:00 am

The well-written spy novel is not a hotly contested field. Le Carré, Fleming, Deighton, a few Greenes, and that’s largely…

The Book of Joan: part apocalyptic tale, part erotic poem

24 February 2018 9:00 am

Does J.G. Ballard’s ‘disquieting equation’, ‘sex x technology = the future’, still hold? Not in Lidia Yuknavitch’s novel, which imagines…

The Nazis had a genius for staging, inventing the procession of the Olympic torch from Athens to the host city

Hitler’s charm offensive at the Berlin Olympics was a sinister cover for his main offensive

17 February 2018 9:00 am

At the Berlin Olympics, Hitler set out to seduce the world. But his main purpose was to buy time for war preparations, says Simon Kuper

The best way to escape my abusive family was to write novels

17 February 2018 9:00 am

Early on in Amy Tan’s 1989 bestseller, The Joy Luck Club, a Chinese concubine slices a chunk of flesh from…

César Aira returns to the evocative small-town landscape of his youth

17 February 2018 9:00 am

The publication of César Aira’s The Lime Tree in Chris Andrews’s assured translation is a reminder that much of the…

The Marquis de Lafayette was inspired to fight in the American Revolutionary War

Why do people risk their lives to fight for a foreign cause?

17 February 2018 9:00 am

What’s the point of a cover if not to judge a book by? One look at the image on the…

Women sort coffee beans at the Farmers’ Cooperative Union outside Bonga, in the heart of the Kafa region

Kafa, the birthplace of coffee, was a kingdom straight out of Rider Haggard

17 February 2018 9:00 am

For many of us, coffee is the lift that eases the load of our working day. Yet the sharpened mental…

It’s not a wave’s crest, but its translucent interior that surfers dream of

17 February 2018 9:00 am

Surfing has come of age. Like rock and roll, it was once strictly for young people, edgy and alternative and…

Lady Lucan, a week after the murder

How Lucky Lucan begged me for money shortly before mistakenly murdering the nanny

17 February 2018 9:00 am

A Moment in Time reminded me of the sort of British expatriate women I used to meet in the south…

A century of Ethiopia’s turbulent history, seen through the life of one woman

17 February 2018 9:00 am

Yetemegn was barely eight years old when her parents married her off to a man in his thirties. Before she…

Despite her inability to talk or swallow, Genevieve Fox brims with joie de vivre

17 February 2018 9:00 am

A good, solid life-threatening illness can be the making of a writer. This has certainly been the case for Genevieve…

Churchill was all in favour of a united Europe — as long as it didn’t include Britain

17 February 2018 9:00 am

Dr Felix Klos is an extremely personable, highly intelligent American-Dutch historian who has undertaken much archival research, worked extremely hard…

One of a series of surfer novels featuring Bill Cartwright, a millionaire champion surfer and CIA agent

Mary Whitehouse’s publishers also produced Gang Girls, The Degenerates and Bikers at War

17 February 2018 9:00 am

The year 1971 was a busy one for Mary Whitehouse, self-appointed ‘Clean-up TV’ campaigner. Not only did she help establish…

The more outrageous sf fantasies give way to soft dystopias

17 February 2018 9:00 am

Science fiction, as any enthusiast will tell you, is not just about gazing into the future but also about illuminating…

The Charlie Hebdo attacks form a backdrop to a complicated love triangle in C.K. Stead’s latest novel

17 February 2018 9:00 am

There has been much debate recently about what exactly constitutes ‘literary’ fiction. If the term means beguiling, gorgeously crafted novels…

Emmeline Pankhurst is carried bodily from a demonstration outside Buckingham Palace in 1914

When persuasion failed, force seemed the only option for women to get the vote

10 February 2018 9:00 am

Jane Ridley describes how campaigners for female suffrage in Britain tried every tactic in vain. It took a world war to secure even a limited number of women the vote

The elusive snowy owl in flight

The healing power of owls

10 February 2018 9:00 am

Owls, frontally eyed and nose beaked, look the most human of birds. Accordingly, they have for millennia been prominent in…

A sales assistant wipes Unilever product, Fair and Lovely skin fairness cream at a shop in New Delhi on April 30, 2013. Food giant Unilever on Tuesday announced a 5.4-billion dollar offer to raise its stake in its Indian subsidiary, eyeing explosive sales of branded consumer items to the Asian country's growing middle class. AFP PHOTO/ SAJJAD HUSSAIN (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Any residual reverence for the British Empire must end, says Afua Hirsch

10 February 2018 9:00 am

In parts of Africa and the West Indies women are so anxious to ‘whiten up’ that they use skin-lightening creams.…

At last, the truth can be told about Armageddon

10 February 2018 9:00 am

Deployed in vastly exaggerated numbers, nuclear weapons were maintained in place not just by secrecy, but by banalities and lies.…

Zadie Smith: attentive, thoughtful and original

Zadie Smith: a hip-hop enthusiast with Schopenhauer in her pocket

10 February 2018 9:00 am

There’s a tiny mistake in Zadie Smith’s new collection of essays. She describes Geoff Dyer’s unimprovably funny ‘trick while introducing…