Books

The heart of the master

14 September 2002 12:00 am

THE HUMOUR AND THE PITY: ESSAYS ON V. S. NAIPAULedited by Amitava KumarBuffalo Books, in association with the British Council,…

When inner and outer reality collide

14 September 2002 12:00 am

Coleridge’s Notebooks have been a companion during most of my mature life and this is a marvellously judged and varied…

He is cheap, he is pure, he is capable – and he isn’t doomed

14 September 2002 12:00 am

In any discussion about the English judicial system with foreigners, they are always amazed to learn that more than 90…

Unblinking, even for a second

14 September 2002 12:00 am

Some novels are something; others are about something. If fiction is an art, then the former class is more likely…

A new lease of life

14 September 2002 12:00 am

The heroine of Margaret Drabble’s new novel is on first sight pretty depressing, and supposed to be so. The opening…

As sharp as cut tin

14 September 2002 12:00 am

In fiction, as in other branches of the creative arts, reputation is all, or nearly all. One of my most…

Raw skin over bone

14 September 2002 12:00 am

At the Edinburgh Book Festival this year, Dr David Starkey, the television historian and iconoclast, pronounced that history was elitist…

How the master of landscape was transformed

14 September 2002 12:00 am

In 1760s Bath, the promenade from the Pump Room to the tree-lined Walks of Orange Grove passed a row of…

Deceiving only those who want to believe

14 September 2002 12:00 am

Forgery ranked with murder as a capital crime well into the 19th century. Faked texts and signatures could falsify wills…

No room at the top

14 September 2002 12:00 am

In the years following the second world war, Tony Crosland, Roy Jenkins and Denis Healey either became Labour Members of…

A bleak kind of optimism

14 September 2002 12:00 am

After several acclaimed novels, including last year’s Pulitzer prize-winning Empire Falls, Richard Russo has now produced a volume of short…

Sniggling with a darning needle

7 September 2002 12:00 am

I have always counted myself a loyal, even an enthusiastic eel fan. I seek them out and buy them whenever…

A phoenix rising from European ashes

7 September 2002 12:00 am

It is impossible in a short space to convey not merely how good, but how important Geoffrey Hill’s writing is.…

Grimly comic menace

7 September 2002 12:00 am

Porno is billed as ‘the sequel to Trainspotting’, which immediately is a worrying sign, like the blow-up doll that stares…

Plucking at the sighing harp of time

7 September 2002 12:00 am

William Trevor is the voice of a civilised Anglo-Ireland capable of apologising for ancient privileges and extensive estates while discreetly…

Swagger, colour and dash

31 August 2002 12:00 am

A. N. Wilson claims that he can imagine nothing more agreeable than the life of a country parson, ‘born in…

This side of greatness

31 August 2002 12:00 am

If Kafka had never existed, critics might now be using the word Warneresque, instead of Kafkaesque, to describe the sort…

A set of linked doodles

31 August 2002 12:00 am

The niceties of Saul Steinberg’s cartoon drawings are doodle-related. Figures begin at the nose, become elaborately hatted and shod and…

Regret, guilt and exhilaration

31 August 2002 12:00 am

EDITH WHARTON’S FRENCH RIVIERAby Philippe Collas and Eric VilledaryFlammarion, £22.50, pp. 149, ISBN 2080107224 London, even in normal years, is…

A second passage to India

31 August 2002 12:00 am

In September 1946 a 23-year-old Englishwoman sailed for India in one of the first passenger liners to be reconverted from…

Fiddler on the run

24 August 2002 12:00 am

This is the story of a strange and intense friendship between two orthodox Jews, one a violinist seen as the…

Of rats and men

24 August 2002 12:00 am

This racy tale of plague in the modern era focuses on two outbreaks 100 years apart: Hong Kong 1894 and…

From agony to ecstasy

24 August 2002 12:00 am

This is a selection of the original letters written in the 1870s by the Victorian globe-trotter, Isabella Bird, to her…

Obsessive, compulsive behaviour

24 August 2002 12:00 am

The young author of this survey of our childlike passion for grabbing a thing and shouting ‘it’s mine!’ is good…

All the world wondered

24 August 2002 12:00 am

Every cavalryman must envy the hero of this book. Between 1936 and 1941 he led no less than five charges…