Books

Truly heroic couplets

15 May 2004 12:00 am

Amid the enmities of contemporary letters, it’s salutary to recognise that for most of us allegiances go farther back, and…

Trading on a famous name

15 May 2004 12:00 am

Was Hitler’s favourite actress a Russian spy? asks the publisher’s ‘shout line’ on the book-jacket, positioned to look like the…

Sworn enemy of the Gradgrinds

15 May 2004 12:00 am

To become a famous philosopher, as the French have discovered, you need an all-embracing theory. It does not have to…

The changing of the old guard

15 May 2004 12:00 am

Sir Peregrine is a romantic. He has drawn his sword from its scabbard in defence of aristocracy in a self-conscious…

Other voices, the same rooms

8 May 2004 12:00 am

I’m not susceptible to ghosts, and never see or sense them; my partner, who is, reports a mildly inquisitive nocturnal…

The mind at the end of its tether

8 May 2004 12:00 am

When I interviewed him about his novel Asylum, Patrick McGrath described himself as a ‘psychological novelist’, adding that he would…

A voice worth listening to

8 May 2004 12:00 am

I could tell you about Graham the man, the hard-drinking, wild and wayward Scots poet who spent most of his…

Justified surgery or pointless blood-letting?

8 May 2004 12:00 am

In June 1937, Nancy Cunard, a supporter of the Republicans’ battle against Franco’s nationalists circulated a questionnaire to the writers…

Somewhere between hero and demon

8 May 2004 12:00 am

‘I do really feel it would have been a better world without Teller… I think he is an enemy of…

Scared of Christmas presents

8 May 2004 12:00 am

In this fascinating book about her two autistic sons Charlotte Moore describes what would be a nightmare life for most…

The sunset glory of the amateurs

8 May 2004 12:00 am

3:59:4: The Quest to Break the Four-Minute Mileby John BryantHutchinson, £14.99, pp. 310, ISBN 0091800331 Fifty years ago, on 6…

Reasonable, readable rambles

8 May 2004 12:00 am

The subtitle, ‘On Settling’, is apt; the book is about the author’s settling in (you could nearly say ‘into’) what…

Rather cold Turkey

8 May 2004 12:00 am

In 1919 my grandfather was in Kars, near what is now Turkey’s north-eastern frontier, as part of a British occupation…

A beauty of many names and places

8 May 2004 12:00 am

Do not be put off by the silly sub-title: this is an admirable book on several levels. Botanical origins; plant-hunting;…

James Joyce and the genesis of Ulysses

8 May 2004 12:00 am

James Joyce scholars and the Irish tourist industry are both gearing up for 16 June, the centenary of the day…

The neocon’s imperial burden

1 May 2004 12:00 am

‘They can’t like us a whole lot,’ was the report of one American soldier. ‘If we came into a village…

The mating game in Manhattan

1 May 2004 12:00 am

A publishing friend arrived with an armful of new books as a cadeau maison. I have to confess I picked…

Decline and fall of a Russian hero

1 May 2004 12:00 am

It was only by a hoax that Andre

Jumping for joy

1 May 2004 12:00 am

Jane Shilling is a Times journalist and single parent who lives in Greenwich with her 12-year-old son. One day, for…

The crushing burden of proof

1 May 2004 12:00 am

Anthony Kenny does not believe in the existence of God, but his disbelief is qualified and complex. He does not…

Dirty hands with green fingers

1 May 2004 12:00 am

The unpretentious title of this excellent, delicious book is clever. Does it mean ‘a modicum of garden history’ or, in…

Poets under surveillance

24 April 2004 12:00 am

Without a doubt, Moscow Memoirs is an extraordinary book, one of those literary memoirs that comes along once a decade.…

A voracious collector

24 April 2004 12:00 am

‘The only novelist now writing in English whose works are likely to stand as literary classics…who has the power, range,…

Rock and soul

24 April 2004 12:00 am

If you were a poet returning from war-ravaged Yugoslavia with a marriage on the rocks and credit-card companies after you,…

A hiding to nothing

24 April 2004 12:00 am

The story of Hitler’s last days in his bunker has been told and retold many times, perhaps most famously and…