Books

The great little Welsh conjuror

9 November 2002 12:00 am

It is a discomforting thought that, had the present fashion for kiss-and-tell memoirs, or the intense media scrutiny of politicians’…

Verdict as open as ever

9 November 2002 12:00 am

Readers of the thrillers of the American writer Patricia Cornwell will find elements of her new book familiar but others…

A failure of papal nerve

2 November 2002 12:00 am

This is one of the most devastating but, at the same time, restrained and balanced indictments, among the many that…

Harmony triumphantly achieved

2 November 2002 12:00 am

Like most human beings, most novelists are neither outstandingly good nor outstandingly bad. This poses a problem for reviewers. A…

Through whiggish spectacles

2 November 2002 12:00 am

The distillation of a vast quantity of historical material into a tolerably readable concentrate is a considerable skill, the historian’s…

The everlasting power and glory of the shared table

2 November 2002 12:00 am

From Apicius to the Ivy: Roy Strong, the possessor of 800 cookbooks, has written a fascinating and scholarly study of…

The incomparable and inexplicable

2 November 2002 12:00 am

THE ILLUSTRATED ZULEIKA DOBSONby Max Beerbohm, with an introduction by N. John HallYale, £9.99, pp. 432, ISBN 0300097328 Max Beerbohm…

The end of something good

2 November 2002 12:00 am

Two running stories are brought to a close in Death’s Jest-Book. The first was introduced in the novel in which…

Selling sex up the river

2 November 2002 12:00 am

Anne Enright is an Irish writer with a startling gift for domesticating the outlandish. In her last novel, about twins…

Another good man in Africa

2 November 2002 12:00 am

INSIDE SAHARAby Basil PaoWeidenfeld, £25, pp. 200, ISBN 0297843044 Michael Palin is a decent chap, I thought, after bumping into…

How the Ming fleets missed Manhattan

2 November 2002 12:00 am

Gavin Menzies declares, he does not claim, that between 1421 and 1423 the Chinese discovered Australia, South and North America,…

More debit than credit

2 November 2002 12:00 am

The people in Hanif Kureishi’s short fiction are rarely in the first flush of youth. Adam, the bleary sixtysomething protagonist…

Faithful after his fashion

26 October 2002 12:00 am

There is doubtless some passing pleasure to be had in making it into the Royal Enclosure or, failing that, the…

Voices in the next room

26 October 2002 12:00 am

After his father died Blake Morrison wrote an emotive and bravely candid book about him, from which Morrison pŒre emerges…

Falling among fans

26 October 2002 12:00 am

I remember the day, the time, the place. Discussing the world’s news with the village butcher, I brought up the…

Putting the ha back in Ithaca

26 October 2002 12:00 am

‘Yes,’ writes the eponymous narrator of this exceptionally clever, vivacious account of sibling rivalry, ‘there are many wax dolls on…

Angels and ministers of grace

26 October 2002 12:00 am

Despite its provocative title, this is not a salacious book. Any reader hoping for disclosures about Woolf’s lesbian love affairs…

Having things both ways

26 October 2002 12:00 am

It all comes out of War and Peace? Well, Tolstoy makes a good starting-point anyway for such an adroit historian…

The unvarnished picture

26 October 2002 12:00 am

‘What-ho,’ says an Excess sub-editor appreciatively as Simon Balcairn files his sensational account of Margot Metroland’s party for the American…

An intolerant sort of liberal

26 October 2002 12:00 am

In 1845 Newman was received into the Roman Catholic Church. More than a century and a half later, the fires…

Lord of loony laughter

19 October 2002 12:00 am

Of all my heroes whom I have been fortunate enough to encounter in the flesh, none was more friendly and…

Great helmsman or mad wrecker

19 October 2002 12:00 am

KOBA THE DREAD: LAUGHTER AND TWENTY MILLIONby Martin AmisCape, £16.99, pp. 306, ISBN 0224063030 Eric Hobsbawm is arguably our greatest…

Justice changing gear to keep up

19 October 2002 12:00 am

Fifty-one years ago no one would have written this book, and, if someone had, no one would have read it.…

Master and mistress of ambiguity

19 October 2002 12:00 am

Charlotte Bach was unusual even in those who stood by her: Don Smith, a gay sado-masochist with whom she was…

The spider spied ‘er

19 October 2002 12:00 am

Sarah Waters is a rarity – an up and coming writer in this age of hype who actually deserves the…