Lead book review

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The sadness of Britain’s seaside resorts

Now the exhilaration kicks in, the lightness of heart, a joyfulness surging along the warmed blood vessels and tingling extremities: every cell feels as if charged with new life. There has been a ritual, a sacrifice, an offering to the waves of flesh and pain, and in return, there is restoration, life given back. Thus

Bad boy on the run: Shy, by Max Porter, reviewed

Shy concludes Max Porter’s informal trilogy of short, poetic novels powered by pain and polyphony. First, in 2015, came Grief is the Thing with Feathers, in which a widowed Ted Hughes scholar is both shocked and comforted by the arrival of a croaking, crouching crow. Then, four years later, Lanny, which followed a young boy

Milan Kundera feels the unbearable weight of disappointment

If you’re looking for a towering intellect to dispense guidance and illumination on current events, particularly one from Central Europe, the hearth of gravitas, piano sonatas, polyglotism, the reading of Hegel etc, Milan Kundera, in A Kidnapped West, will be a bit of a disappointment. This isn’t Kundera’s fault. The volume contains a short speech

Into the woods of 19th-century America

Early American settlers said that a squirrel could climb up a tree on the coast of Massachusetts, set off westwards and not touch the ground until it reached the Ohio river. The squirrels, like the Native Americans, were pushed out and west. Timber was the settlers’ main resource, and they stripped New England of wood