Books

Why did she do it?

8 March 2003 12:00 am

We have had to wait seven years for Graham Swift’s latest novel. Was it worth it? The hero of The…

Where the buck never stops

8 March 2003 12:00 am

It is a seductive idea to assess ‘the invention of America’ through the history of the dollar, for no other…

Spreading the good word

8 March 2003 12:00 am

This is a remarkable novel. Written in a beautifully crafted prose, its theme is the resistance of China to Christianity.…

Hervey remounts his horse

8 March 2003 12:00 am

Those who prefer their history straight may look askance at the historical novel, particularly if it is military. Accuracy is…

He who would be king

8 March 2003 12:00 am

Asked who was the greatest French poet AndrZ Gide famously replied, ‘Victor Hugo, hZlas!’ I confess to having had similar…

Hacking a path through the jungle

8 March 2003 12:00 am

Jonathan Bate, the general editor of this series, which replaces the Oxford History of English Literature, announces in a preface…

Eureka proclaimed too loudly

8 March 2003 12:00 am

James Watson has all the makings of a great biographical subject. He is notoriously volatile, splenetic, and aggressive. During his…

Own goals galore

8 March 2003 12:00 am

FOOTBALL CONFIDENTIAL: SCAMS, SCANDALS AND SCREW-UPSby David Conn, Chris Green, Richard McIlroy and Kevin MousleyBBC, £6.99, pp. 256, ISBN 0563488581…

The most interesting of monarchs

1 March 2003 12:00 am

When an honest citizen was shown into King James I’s room in Whitehall, the scene of confusion amid which he…

Challenge and response

1 March 2003 12:00 am

The first four pages of this novel arouse the highest expectations. Some walkers in the Snowdon area stare up at…

Down to the last detail

1 March 2003 12:00 am

One might assume that the Oxford novel, like some long-delayed train finally pulling into Paddington, has run its course. Bright…

Oppenheimer: fact and fiction

1 March 2003 12:00 am

‘Truth of fact and truth of fiction are incompatible,’ Virginia Woolf once wrote. She was deploring the decision of her…

Living under the volcano

1 March 2003 12:00 am

Regrettably history is not among the core subjects now prescribed by the government’s umpteenth overhaul of the national curriculum. The…

The next best thing

1 March 2003 12:00 am

This handsome book should be given to all those non-Waltonians who say, ‘I don’t fish because I haven’t got the…

Nothing new on display

1 March 2003 12:00 am

Assuming that a biography is worth writing in the first place, it is often asserted that after 20 years or…

Radiance in suburbia

22 February 2003 12:00 am

Shena Mackay has had a difficult and unconventional career, and it has taken a long time for most readers to…

The Russian language front

22 February 2003 12:00 am

During the war against Hitler, secret services recruited on the old boy net: there was no other way of being…

One man’s prime numbers

22 February 2003 12:00 am

When you are a bestselling novelist you get to do things your way. So this isn’t 32 Songs, which would…

Bum ego trip

22 February 2003 12:00 am

‘Our lives are one endless stretch of misery punctuated by processed fast foods and the occasional crisis or amusing curiosity,’…

The Stuart we fail to remember

22 February 2003 12:00 am

In 1066 and All That there is a spoof exam question: ‘How can you be so numb and vague about…

A palely loitering revenant

22 February 2003 12:00 am

‘Reviewers,’ laments the Dr Cake of Andrew Motion’s title, ‘they are devils. Devils. I have seen good men, good authors,…

The boy who saw too much and too little

22 February 2003 12:00 am

Already a bestseller in the many countries where it has been published, I’m Not Scared was described to me as…

Not eating or cheating

22 February 2003 12:00 am

‘She was like a bride, they said, festooned in ribbons and bows, a large crucifix resting on her bosom,’ records…

A soft tread and a sure touch

22 February 2003 12:00 am

Short stories are best read one a night just before you go to sleep, and this collection by Angela Huth,…

Articles of faith

15 February 2003 12:00 am

Richard Dawkins loves fighting. More precisely, he loves winning. To be Dawkinsed, as this selection from his essays of the…