Lead book review

Sam Leith

Reviewing reviews of reviews — where will it all end? 

About halfway through reading this collection of essays I had one of those hall-of-mirrors moments. These are mostly book reviews, you see: high-toned, long-form New York Review of Books-type review-essays, given — but book reviews nevertheless. There I was, dutifully noting what David Lodge wrote about what Martin Stannard had to say about Muriel Spark,

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Write what you know — especially if it’s the second world war

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A book about one of the London clubs, published to mark its 250th anniversary, might be regarded as of extremely limited public appeal, designed only for the enjoyment of its members, 800 of whom have subscribed more than 900 copies (one blenches to think why members might want more than one copy). But Brooks’s, halfway

The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride – review

James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird is set in the mid 19th century, and is based on the real life of John Brown, the one who lies a-mouldering in his grave. Recently it won a National Book Award in the USA. Brown, the Old Man, was a religious fanatic who believed that he had the

When No Man’s Land is home

Countless writers and film-makers this year will be trying their hand at forcing us to wake up and smell the first world war.  How do they plant a fresh, haunting, horrifying image into our unwilling and saturated heads? We know it all: the trenches, the mud, the shell holes, the rats, the man plodding towards

On Lambeth Bridge

I am halfway across a bridge and midway through my life, staring at the midday sun. How I love politics! I recall hearing debates over there in the Commons, and I know that democracy is about working days like this, taxpayers in trucks and buses, the business of pleasure boats, foreign policy of tourists and