Books

A romantic socialist

23 October 2004 12:00 am

There is no introduction to this collection of essays, reviews and ‘think-pieces’ by Doris Lessing, but they are presumably chosen…

Seven of the best

23 October 2004 12:00 am

Call the Dying is the seventh novel in Andrew Taylor’s Lydmouth series. He started it in 1994 and by setting…

The price of the last push

16 October 2004 12:00 am

This lucid account by a practised hand of what went on in Europe during that final year of the second…

The awkward squad

16 October 2004 12:00 am

The introduction to Alone! Alone! is very good. It’s modest and candid, and everything Rosemary Din- nage says about book-reviewing…

Never short of an answer

16 October 2004 12:00 am

People, that’s to say some critics, just don’t get it about R. B. Kitaj. They dislike the way he paints,…

The power of total contempt

16 October 2004 12:00 am

As plans gather pace to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the second world war, there are certain…

Olden but not golden

9 October 2004 12:00 am

‘Roy Hattersley,’ said Becky, tilting her head on one side to read the spine of the thick red book I…

When there was nowhere to go but down

9 October 2004 12:00 am

It goes without saying that the second world war was decided as much on the western ocean as in the…

A poor pre-emptive strike

9 October 2004 12:00 am

‘You will be in charge, although, of course, nothing will happen, and I shall be back again this evening early,’…

Beyond the camera’s reach

9 October 2004 12:00 am

The 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers were terrific disaster television. No special effects! How about those great shots of…

Without a blush or a yawn

9 October 2004 12:00 am

Joan Wyndham has written two war diaries, and one postwar autobiography; now she completes the picture with a description, part…

A slave of solitude

9 October 2004 12:00 am

Loneliness is a pearl of great price among novelists. Fiction, drawing so much of its inspiration from groups, communities and…

Working with ideas, not stories

9 October 2004 12:00 am

This collection was originally published by Faber in 1993, and was followed in 1996 by Martel’s first novel, Self. Then…

Both the first and the last word

9 October 2004 12:00 am

Tom Shone, the ex-film critic of the Sunday Times, is out to pick a fight. The clue is in the…

Big Daddy of Europe?

9 October 2004 12:00 am

It was one of his own poets who described Charlemagne as ‘father of Europe’, over 1,200 years ago. Pres- umably…

Kenya’s hopes and horrors

9 October 2004 12:00 am

Atheists were rare before the mid-18th century. The 200 years from then to the mid 20th century were their moment,…

The god that has failed to fail

9 October 2004 12:00 am

Atheists were rare before the mid-18th century. The 200 years from then to the mid 20th century were their moment,…

The hero with a hundred faults

9 October 2004 12:00 am

The Duke of Wellington once bumped into Nelson in a minister’s anteroom. Nelson had no idea who Wellington was (it…

Professional to his fingertips

2 October 2004 12:00 am

Perhaps not uniquely, I was discouraged from reading V. S. Pritchett by nothing more than the old Penguin cover of…

The fine art of appreciation

2 October 2004 12:00 am

A Fine Brush on Ivory: An Appreciation of Jane Austen by Richard Jenkyns OUP, £12.99, pp. 200, ISBN 0199276617 ‘Each…

Sob sisters and scolders

2 October 2004 12:00 am

Without meaning to come the Big I-Am, I’ve got issues with the whole premise of this book, which probably stem…

A time of zero tolerance

2 October 2004 12:00 am

Born in 1956, Ronan Bennett is a Belfast writer of great gifts. His last novel, The Catastrophist, was a tense…

From Africa back to Scotland

2 October 2004 12:00 am

The publishing world is full of romantic stories, not every one with a happy ending. (I was brought up on…

Gravity, mischief and variety

2 October 2004 12:00 am

Muriel Spark rightly insists that she is a poet who, as it happens, writes novels, and that she writes novels…

Somewhat concerning food

2 October 2004 12:00 am

Alice Thomas Ellis is not a person to be trusted — in the kitchen. I am surprised to find this.…