More from Books

Life & Letters | 8 August 2009

Between 1945 and his death in 1961 Ernest Hemingway published only two books, apart from collections of stories mostly written before the war. The two were Across the River and Into the Trees and The Old Man and the Sea. The first was generally considered a failure, the second a success; and it’s doubtless perversity

One man and his dogma

‘The second world war lasted for 2,174 days, cost $1.5 trillion and claimed the lives of over 50 million people. That represents 23,000 lives lost every day, or more than six people killed every minute, for six long years.’ This neat summary is characteristic of the way Andrew Roberts uses statistics to bring home to

Diagnosing the nation’s ills

It must be 20 years since Spectator readers first encountered the name Theodore Dalrymple. It’s not his real name, of course. Several times over the years people have told me of his true identity, which I have always instantly forgotten, presumably because I don’t really want to know it. Far more appropriate that Dalrymple should

Past imperfect | 5 August 2009

We Are All Made of Glue, by Marina Lewycka The Rehearsal, by Eleanor Catton Yalo, by Elias Khory, translated by Humphrey Davies We Are All Made of Glue is Marina Lewycka’s third novel — or, more accurately, her third published novel, since she famously made her way through several other works and a rain-forest’s worth

The great thaw

We had a running joke in my family that entering the Soviet Union was a bit like smuggling in somebody else’s nose. Every school holiday, as I presented my passport to the granite-faced Soviet border guard at Moscow’s Sheremetevo Airport, my photograph would be scrutinised at length to make sure it matched my face. Sometimes

The human condition

The hardest thing about the advent of a new collection of stories by A. L. Kennedy — her fifth, called What Becomes — is the search for synonyms for ‘brilliant’. Her uncanny dialogue is as note-perfect as J. D. Salinger’s, her vision as astutely bleak as Alice Munro’s, and her ability to summon up a