Books

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…

Among the goys and philistines

5 April 2003 12:00 am

For some reason, almost every time I plunge into too hot a bath I find myself thinking of my days…

The fatal Dogberry tendency

29 March 2003 12:00 am

In June 1959, A. L. Rowse was sitting on a train in the United States, writing up his journal. He…

Tales of the unexpected

29 March 2003 12:00 am

How’s this for a good opening? ‘I took out a gun and painted the bullets gold.’ If that were a…

The young, red-haired man in the cupboard

29 March 2003 12:00 am

If this had a third act it would make a superb film, for the cast list is virtually a re-run…

Old Wasp with a weak sting

29 March 2003 12:00 am

The pleasure boat captains who ply the coast of the Gulf of Salerno beneath Gore Vidal’s Ravello flat are inconsolable…

What voice can do

29 March 2003 12:00 am

There was recently, in the serious and excellent Saturday Guardian review, a short piece on Oor Wullie, a small boy…

Tormented Prince Charming

29 March 2003 12:00 am

The story begins at the ch

Still on his feet in the twelfth round

29 March 2003 12:00 am

Norman Mailer was 80 years old on 31 January 2003, so let us salute the last of all the knights.…

A parable of a lost talent

29 March 2003 12:00 am

translated by Krishna Winston The advantage of Crabwalk is that it is only a third as long as G

Serving Christ and colonialism

29 March 2003 12:00 am

Fergus Fleming is the author of three volumes of narrative history, the best of which, Barrow’s Boys, gives a rollicking…

A bit of a smash in Soho

22 March 2003 12:00 am

The legendarily catastrophic life of Julian Maclaren-Ross has tempted biographers before. But the task of pursuing him, like the Hound…

Not great but definitely good

22 March 2003 12:00 am

Who was Hannah More? William Cobbett called her an old bishop in petticoats, and she was the subject of a…

What it’s really like

22 March 2003 12:00 am

In a recent column in the Telegraph (8 March) headed ‘How I long for the bombs to start falling,’ Mark…

The first iron curtain

22 March 2003 12:00 am

Religious tradition has defined human societies and shaped their habits of mind more strongly than any other factor. It still…

DIY down the ages

22 March 2003 12:00 am

One balmy summer afternoon in my final year at prep school, a group of my fellow-prefects and I gathered under…

A square peg

15 March 2003 12:00 am

In life, it helps to be called Rothschild. Victor Rothschild discovered this well before he became associated in the public…

Intruder in the dust

15 March 2003 12:00 am

The Emma of the title was an intrepid young woman who journeyed to the Sudan in search of exotic adventure.…

Heavy losses on the cultural front

15 March 2003 12:00 am

The start of this book is extremely annoying. On page three there is an inept echo of Gibbon, which has…

Fruits of empire

15 March 2003 12:00 am

Since Henry Hobhouse wrote his story of five plants that changed the world, Seeds of Change, nearly 20 years ago,…

Public relations disaster

15 March 2003 12:00 am

Private lives of the rich or celebrated or infamous kinds in New York often resemble one of those inside-out buildings…