More from Books

How different from us?

The Ends of Life: Roads to Human Fulfilment in Early Modern England, by Keith Thomas The English past is not what it was, for professional historians anyway. The rest of us still talk about the Tudors and the Stuarts, about Renaissance and Reformation and the Augustan Age. But within the academy all these dynasties and

Dark fantasies

Rhyming Life and Death, by Amos Oz Rhyming Life and Death is set in Tel Aviv during one night in the early 1980s, and concerns a man we know only as ‘the Author’, who spins fiction from his surroundings to pass the time. The Author is a famous middle-aged novelist, who happens also to be

No pains spared

Matthew, the author’s son, and the subject of this memoir, had Downs Syndrome, but I should state at once that the book is much more than a guide for parents, or carers, of such children. It stands on its own as a work of literature and should win the PEN/Ackerley prize for memoir and autobiography.

Heartbreak hotel

Here surely is what Joseph Conrad meant when he wrote that above all he wanted his readers ‘to see.’ In The Post Office Girl Stefan Zweig explores the details of everyday life in language that pierces both brain and heart. Born in 1881 into a rich Austrian-Jewish family, Zweig was the embodiment of pre- and

Surviving the Middle Passage

The Book of Negroes, an historical romance, creates an unforgettably vivid picture of the Atlantic slave trade and the philanthropists who sought to oppose it. The novel opens in Africa in the year 1745. Aminata Diallo, a midwife’s daughter, has been abducted from her village in present-day Mali and marched in chains to a slave