More from Books

Sam Leith

A master at work

It’s pretty seldom that, only a few pages into a novel, you know you’re in the hands of a writer who does what he does as well as anyone else alive. Lush Life is that sort of book: entirely imagined, dense with life, and written sentence by sentence without a false note or a moment

Nooks for rooks

Was it Wordsworth who discovered the ‘real’ rural? Later, the Georgian poets celebrated its passing, giving rise to what Edward Thomas called ‘the Norfolk Jacket school of writing’. The poets of the 1930s took up politics instead, and nowadays poets are mostly urban. These scatter-shot generalisations, riddled with exceptions, are only meant as an introduction

Deceit and dilemma

Simon Baker reviews a collection of short stories by Tobias Wolff  This book contains ten new stories from Tobias Wolff, plus a selection from the three volumes of short stories he published between 1981 and 1997. It affords the reader a fascinating panorama of Wolff’s entire career, and shows that, like Bach’s variations, Wolff’s stories move

Good length delivery

This short novel was first published in a tiny edition at the end of last year. Since then it has won the McKitterick Prize (for the best first novel by an author over forty), and now it is reissued with a glossy picture on the cover and a quote by Mick Jagger saying that he

Letters from the Front

A wide gap has opened up between British military historians who work on the world war of 1914-18 and the mass of British schoolteachers who take it in school history classes. The teachers, impressed by the poetry of Sassoon and Owen, follow what may be called the ‘Lions led by Donkeys’ school of Alan Clark,

Recent crime novels | 9 August 2008

Andrew Taylor reviews a selection of recent crime novels  The Murder Farm (Quercus, £8.99) is Andrea Schenkel’s first novel and has been hugely successful in her native Germany and elsewhere. Based on a real case, it is set in the 1950s and deals with murder of a farmer, his wife, daughter, grandchildren and maid. It

The desperate fate of Malcolm Lowry

Late one night many years ago I was in a bar round the corner from the Roman offices of the newspaper La Stampa. After a few grappas I gave my friend Anthony something I had written that day. He read it without evident appreciation, and, handing it back, said, ‘Can’t you write anything that isn’t