Books

The love that dared to speak its name

4 October 2003 12:00 am

As you went into the tower door of the church at Marsh Baldon (Oxon), there used to be two wall-tablets.…

The making of a professional

4 October 2003 12:00 am

All the clichés are true: travel refreshes the taste for living; it brightens the jaded mind, it stimulates and deludes.…

Not such a low and dishonest decade

4 October 2003 12:00 am

If it is to be interesting, contemporary history has to be a battle between good guys and bad guys. In…

For ever taking leave

4 October 2003 12:00 am

Martha Gellhorn, an American who lost faith in America, was one of the most important war-reporters of the 20th century.…

Spillikins of wisdom

4 October 2003 12:00 am

This is not exactly an autobiography — John Mortimer has written three already, one about old age — but more…

Kissing and telling with gusto

30 August 2003 12:00 am

Harriette Wilson’s Memoirsintroduced by Lesley BlanchPhoenix, £9.99, pp. 471, ISBN 1842126326 What do a modern New York psychoanalyst and a…

More funny peculiar than ha-ha

30 August 2003 12:00 am

A shilling life will give you all the facts, or at least a £20 one will. And in the case…

Culture of shame

30 August 2003 12:00 am

I really thought I had made it when I went to give a talk at my old Oxford college. But…

A sane cuckoo in the nest of art

30 August 2003 12:00 am

This is a hugely impressive but somewhat exhausting book, the justification for which — from a brutally commercial viewpoint —…

Endless stint of stunts

30 August 2003 12:00 am

To be apparently always affable, a person everyone is pleased to see, ‘dear old Johnners’, as it seems was the…

Settling in Seattle

30 August 2003 12:00 am

In Waxwings Jonathan Raban triumphantly transfers the skills of an award-winning travel writer to his second novel. (The first was…

When seeing is not believing

30 August 2003 12:00 am

Waking Raphael has all the ingredients one could hope for from a thriller set in Italy: corruption, art, religion, food…

Trying to be one of the boys

30 August 2003 12:00 am

A group of bored American fighter pilots liven up their posting in cold war Germany with round-the-campfire joshing, petty squabbles,…

Finding a way to beat Catch-21

30 August 2003 12:00 am

‘You’re not losing; we don’t care for that type of play here. Just cash in your chips and collect your…

Courtiers and communists

19 July 2003 12:00 am

Courts can be a tool for understanding the present as well as the past. The behaviour patterns of courts and…

For the union dead

19 July 2003 12:00 am

‘When I die,’ Robert Lowell told me, three days before he did die, in 1977, at the age of 60,…

From one hustler to another

19 July 2003 12:00 am

Dear James, Thanks for sending me a copy of your … what shall we call it? Memoir? Novel? Anyway, I…

More respected than admired

19 July 2003 12:00 am

At the Italian seaside last week I flicked through the hotel’s copy of a translation of Gombrich’s Story of Art.…

The horror! The horror!

19 July 2003 12:00 am

I have to declare an interest. In the late 1980s, I travelled with the author of this book. After university…

A one-man Dad’s army

19 July 2003 12:00 am

It isn’t good manners for somebody to criticise a great-uncle after his death, but I know from first-hand experience that…

Captain Yossarian rides again

19 July 2003 12:00 am

Closing Time by Joseph Heller Scribner, £7.99, pp. 464 ISBN 0743239806 Fortune granted Joseph Heller’s generation, raised during the Depression,…

The best committee that ever sat

5 April 2003 12:00 am

There are two literary facts in English which it is almost impossible to examine, to see clearly. They are Shakespeare…

Master of the merry-go-round

5 April 2003 12:00 am

Sprawling, teeming with people and flooded with an almost malevolent brilliance, this book is the literary equivalent of some vast…

The heart of whiteness

5 April 2003 12:00 am

Happiness writes white, it’s said: so too, one would think, does Antarctica. How is it possible to describe an environment…

These foolish things

5 April 2003 12:00 am

Perhaps this strange volume is a bang on the nose for political correctness, but one cannot be sure. It could…