More from Books

In the hands of fools

Miranda Carter certainly has a penchant for awkward, often impossible characters. Her fascinating biography of Anthony Blunt explained, as well as anyone could, that strange mixture of aesthete, snob, revolutionary and traitor. Now she turns to the three monarchs who ruled Russia, Germany and Great Britain at the outbreak of the first world war. Nicholas

Reviving a reputation

At the end of his thorough and considered life of William Golding, John Carey remarks that ‘nowadays mention of Lord of the Flies sparks recognition in a way that Golding’s own name does not, or so my admittedly limited market research has indicated.’ Can this really be true? Has Golding’s immense reputation diminished, in the

Agreeable alliance

Noah’s Compass, by Anne Tyler This is Anne Tyler’s seventeenth novel and will be welcomed by her many fans. It will also be familiar, even a little too familiar, to be judged on its own. There is the same Baltimore setting, the same domestic reassurance, the same blameless clueless protagonist, and the same invasive presence

To be mortal

I have read two outstanding books this summer. This is one of them; the other is Summertime by J.M. Coetzee (reviewed on page 42). As I read The Infinities, with its magical, playful richness, its sensuous delight in the power of language to convey the strangeness and beauty of being human, I wondered if J.M.Coetzee

Bluff and double-bluff

Like Philip Larkin in ‘Posterity’, imagining an American lecturer yawning over his research into an ‘old-type natural fouled-up guy’, J.M. Coetzee places himself in the shoes of a notional English biographer gathering the material that will make sense of the years that followed his 1972 return to South Africa. The result is Summertime, third part

House of memories

Selina Hastings recalls her visit in 1989 to Lady Beauchamp, mistress of Madresfield Madresfield: the name is now almost as lustrous with literary association as Little Gidding or Adlestrop. To the admirers of Evelyn Waugh, Madresfield is hallowed ground: ‘It’s where Waugh stayed, you know, when he was writing Brideshead Revisited. In fact Madresfield is