Appearances are deceptive: Trio, by William Boyd, reviewed

Talbot Kydd, film producer; Anny Viklund, American actress; Elfrida Wing, novelist; these make the trio of the title. Private lives are the issue. Wing’s long-suffering agent tells her if you want to know what’s going on in people’s heads, ‘behind those masks we all wear — then read a novel’. The main setting of Trio is Brighton in revolutionary 1968. The actress says: ‘I’m meant to be a famous film star who’s making a film in Brighton.’ That’s the core of the novel. William Boyd is one of our best contemporary storytellers; remember An Ice-cream War and Restless. He tells this morality tale with sustained humour; remember the Nat Tate

What on earth has happened to Simon Schama: The Romantics and Us reviewed

‘You may think our modern world was born yesterday,’ said Simon Schama at the beginning of The Romantics and Us. If you do, though, I can only imagine that you’ve never seen any history documentaries on television — where, as a rule, the modern world is born in whatever period the documentary happens to be about, from Ancient Rome to the 1980s. After all, how can the past possibly be interesting if we can’t see ourselves reflected in it? As the title indicates, Schama’s choice, this time, of an era important enough to lead to us was the romantic movement. But as it soon turned out, the ‘us’ he had