Books

The gentle art of murder

3 January 2004 12:00 am

It often seems that more rubbish is written about the cinema than about almost any other art form. Since too…

Two very different islands

3 January 2004 12:00 am

Reviewing this novel in 1946, when it was first published, Rosamond Lehmann described it as ‘a work of great originality…

Old-style Irish enterprise

3 January 2004 12:00 am

Irishness is perceptible almost everywhere, if you look with eyes half closed, especially in China, Israel and the Latin Countries…

A man who asked the right questions

3 January 2004 12:00 am

David Sylvester’s first ambition was to be a professional cricketer, and he possessed to the end that almost miraculous masculine…

Friends in high places

3 January 2004 12:00 am

David Lang first heard about the Himalayas when he was a little boy. As his father read aloud from the…

After the War was over . . .

27 December 2003 12:00 am

The spy novel is an essential literary genre of our present imagination. Like other popular forms at different times, it…

A lighter shade of genius

27 December 2003 12:00 am

Anyone who has ever had a duff interview will feel for James Kennaway, the screenwriter who met with Hitchcock in…

Temples of culture under siege

27 December 2003 12:00 am

A couple of years ago, I was walking up Quincy Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts with Ivan Gaskell, a curator at…

A ruthless ally

13 December 2003 12:00 am

One of the paradoxes of our age is that the hereditary principle is in eclipse everywhere except the first great…

The elusive face of God

13 December 2003 12:00 am

The biographical note on the jacket of this magisterial book tells us that Professor Geza Vermes was born in Hungary…

Doing the state some service

13 December 2003 12:00 am

At university I had a tutor who would announce once a year, when the subject duly came round, ‘I’m too…

Bloody-minded and unbowed

13 December 2003 12:00 am

The head of history at a well-known English girls’ school was wont to say that she had learned nothing at…

How to shut up and listen

13 December 2003 12:00 am

Stuck for the bumper Christmas gift? Try Robin Holloway’s collected essays of music criticism. It is impressively big and will…

Animal funny farm

13 December 2003 12:00 am

Working in the Washington DC of 1982, I noticed that friends and colleagues cut Gary Larson’s drawings from the Washington…

The precious core of civilisation

13 December 2003 12:00 am

In 1989, two years before the Gulf war, I travelled to Baghdad to write an article on the Hanging Gardens…

Only one factor among many

13 December 2003 12:00 am

This is a fascinating book on a fascinating subject, written by a master of his craft as a military historian.…

Action man and teller of tales

13 December 2003 12:00 am

The other day I came on an old exercise book dating from the early 1940s in which my brother, then…

Pets’ corner in the studio

13 December 2003 12:00 am

This pleasant book, easy on the eye and (as importantly with art books) the thigh, has a pretty picture containing…

The age of innocent adventure

29 November 2003 12:00 am

Between antiquity and the 18th century, aside from a couple of Portuguese priests in Abyssinia, we have no record of…

Letting it all hang out

29 November 2003 12:00 am

For all of us who are paid to make jokes about pop music, Sting is a bit of a godsend.…

A season in hell

29 November 2003 12:00 am

When Philippe Labro, novelist, journalist, cineast, television producer and man about Paris, woke up one morning in 1999 at his…

Hunting the killer rhyme

29 November 2003 12:00 am

Twenty years ago Clive James’s poetry represented all that I most disliked about contemporary Englit. For a start it was…

The Dutch manipulator of the Pelvis

29 November 2003 12:00 am

Behind many great stars of stage and screen lurks a mysterious, sometimes sinister manager figure, minder or mastermind, whose precise…

Above and below blood temperature

29 November 2003 12:00 am

Who Killed Daniel Pearl?by Bernard-Henri Levy, translated by James X. MitchellDuckworth, £20, pp. 454, ISBN 0715632612 The last time Mariane…

Making it a just so story

29 November 2003 12:00 am

This new collection is, surprisingly for a little black book, decidedly unsexy. In fact, A. S. Byatt — unsurprisingly, perhaps,…