Books

Claude Cahun, one of the real-life subjects of Rupert Thomson’s novel. Credit: Jersey Heritage

Never Anyone But You, by Rupert Thomson reviewed

2 June 2018 9:00 am

In a 2013 interview with a Canadian newspaper, Rupert Thomson acknowledged the strange place he occupies in the literary world.…

Meg Wolitzer. (Rex Features)

The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer reviewed

2 June 2018 9:00 am

It’s because it’s the land of the loner that the United States is so loved or loathed. Yet to me…

Antony Sher: self-portrait as King Lear

Sher genius: Antony Sher’s account of playing King Lear

2 June 2018 9:00 am

Why are rehearsal diaries so compelling? One approaches them with cynicism and then ends up reading with racing heart through…

The torrential rain in Anbara Salam’s New Hebrides proves hellish. Credit: Getty Images

A review of debut novels — from Lisa Halliday, Margaret Wilkersen Sexton, Matthew Klam and Anbara Salam

2 June 2018 9:00 am

Publication of a debut novel is an experience comparable with the birth of a first child. Literary gestation is normally…

Midnight sun on the Yukon

I hate fishing — but was hooked by the story of the Yukon’s salmon

2 June 2018 9:00 am

‘Help!’ I thought, when I read the Author’s Note. ‘It’s about salmon, and I hate fishing.’ But by the first…

The My Lai Massacre , exposed by Seymour Hersh. Credit: Getty Images

How I exposed the truth about My Lai

2 June 2018 9:00 am

The humble title of Seymour Hersh’s memoir is somewhat at odds with the tone of the book. He says the…

Ron Howard and Cindy Williams in a scene from American Grafitti

Speeding along the highway in America’s coolest cars

2 June 2018 9:00 am

In 1973, four years before he disappeared down the Star Wars rabbit hole, George Lucas directed the film American Graffiti,…

Unplanned mafioso Naples is ‘thrilling’, according to Owen Hatherley. Credit: Getty Images

Are European cities really so much better than our own?

2 June 2018 9:00 am

Early on in his introduction of nearly 60 pages, Owen Hatherley writes: ‘I find the Britain promised by Brexiters quite…

Sheila Heti

Motherhood, by Sheila Heti reviewed

2 June 2018 9:00 am

‘I don’t think this was something I ever felt’, Sheila Heti writes in Motherhood — ‘that my body, my life,…

Forty years ago, curlews were ubiquitous on British coasts in winter. But mechanised farming and the use of chemicals have spelt disaster

The lovely curlew is wading into extinction

2 June 2018 9:00 am

Mary Colwell, a producer at the BBC natural history unit, is on a mission: to save the British curlew from…

Alison Moore

Missing, by Alison Moore reviewed

2 June 2018 9:00 am

Whereas in an unabashed thriller, in the TV series The Missing, for example, the object of the exercise is well…

Detail of a fresco from the House of the Golden Bracelet, Pompeii

The sacred chickens that ruled the roost in ancient Rome

26 May 2018 9:00 am

The art and literature of ancient Greece and Rome is rich in birds. Mark Cocker explores the myths and folklore surrounding them

Before fleeing to London, Emmanuel Barthélemy commanded a barricade during the June Days uprising in Paris in 1848. Painting by Tony-François de Bergue

The cruel end of Emmanuel Barthélemy –as a waxwork in the Chamber of Horrors

26 May 2018 9:00 am

This is a biography that begins with a bang, swiftly followed by puddles of blood, shrieks of ‘Murder!’ and a…

Bibi Netanyahu: Israel’s unloved, unlovable necessity

26 May 2018 9:00 am

Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the most unloved and unlovable figures in Israeli politics, a solid finish in a competitive…

Drystone walling in the Brecon Beacons, Wales

My brilliant career hits the drystone wall

26 May 2018 9:00 am

We all tell stories about ourselves, every one of us. ‘I’m a useless cook.’ ‘Spiders don’t scare me.’ Not all…

1983: the year the world nearly ended

26 May 2018 9:00 am

In 1983, Soviet spies skulked in our midnight streets to check the lights were out. The Kremlin, convinced the West…

Hello darkness, my old friend: Paul Simon, determined to ensure that his true self remains in shadow

The sound of silence that echoes round Paul Simon

26 May 2018 9:00 am

Someone has gone to a lot of trouble choosing the jacket cover of Robert Hilburn’s authorised biography of Paul Simon…

Carbon – the stuff of life we’re shamefully ignorant about

26 May 2018 9:00 am

‘I didn’t realise we were carbon,’ said a friend to whom I mentioned this book. She was the first of…

Dorothy Parker: poet, short story writer, acidic reviewer and queen of the Algonquin Round Table

America’s wittiest women fight to be taken seriously

26 May 2018 9:00 am

From Aphra Behn to Virginia Woolf, women who make a living by their pens have frequently felt the need to…

Is it acceptable to spin an entertaining fantasy from real-life crime?

26 May 2018 9:00 am

How can you defend a man you hate? John Fairfax, in his Blind Defence (Little Brown, £16.99), explores this dilemma.…

William Trevor, photographed in 1993

The wilder shores of excess in William Trevor’s fiction

19 May 2018 9:00 am

Many of William Trevor’s best characters defy social conventions. Breaking the rules of behaviour is a recurring theme in his superbly crafted short stories, says Philip Hensher

‘The Poltergeist’ by Conroy Maddox (1941)

A violent ultimatum ended Giacometti’s brief flirtation with Marlene Dietrich

19 May 2018 9:00 am

Those with long enough memories may remember Desmond Morris as the presenter of the hit ITV children’s programme of Zoo…

What was Donald Trump’s father doing at a notorious KKK gathering in 1927?

19 May 2018 9:00 am

The figure of Donald Trump looms over Sarah Churchwell’s new history of American national identity, which highlights the ugliest features…

The Gordon Riots, illustrated in Dickens’s Barnaby Rudge

The stubborn old Hanoverians saw new Gunpowder Plots everywhere

19 May 2018 9:00 am

Once won, rights and freedoms are taken for granted. We all find it difficult to imagine life before the Married…

The Battle of Arnhem wasn’t doomed from the start. It might even have been a risk worth taking

19 May 2018 9:00 am

In the high summer of 1944 the Allies achieved their major victory in Normandy with the closing of the German…