Book review

When the best defence is no defence

12 March 2011 12:00 am

This remarkable book is the account by their lawyer of the trial, imprisonment and sentencing to death in the late Eighties of a group of young men who came to be known as the Delmas Four.

Walking wounded

19 February 2011 12:00 am

Paul Torday’s phenomenal success with Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was always going to be a hard act to follow.

The empire strikes back

19 February 2011 12:00 am

Britain recovered from the humiliating loss of her American colonies surprisingly swiftly. But a harsh fate awaited many of her loyalist supporters, according to John Preston

BOOKENDS: Hang the participle

5 February 2011 6:00 am

An awful lot of books are being published these days about the English language. David Crystal has a new one out every few weeks, and John Sutherland probably has half a dozen on the go. The Language Wars: (John Murray, £17.99) is Henry Hitchings’s third and unlikely to be his last.

Australian Books – Hot off the presses

5 February 2011 12:00 am

Peter Allen Ryan has had several adult careers.

A war of nutrition

5 February 2011 12:00 am

The long summer that led up to the last days of peace in Europe in 1939 — the vigil of the Nazi assault on Poland on 1 September and the ensuing Phoney War — gave little hint of the storm to come.

And then there was one . . .

5 February 2011 12:00 am

The English fascination with spies is gloriously reflected in our literature, from Kim to A Question of Attribution, and while their Egyptian and Israeli counterparts remain untranslated, and the Americans unreadable, English spy novelists rule.

And now the good news

22 January 2011 12:00 am

Anh Do, the stand-up comedian, came to Australia as a young boy with his parents in 1980.

On the silver trail

15 January 2011 12:00 am

The Spanish empire was the first of Europe’s great overseas empires, and for many years the richest and most powerful.

Too good for words

15 January 2011 12:00 am

I confess myself baffled by this fable. The narrative is as clear, the prose as uncluttered, as one expects from Susan Hill, but its very simplicity leaves me wondering whether I’ve missed the point.

The gentle touch

8 January 2011 12:00 am

My main disappointment with this collection of stories was that I had already read six of them, in publications ranging from the New Yorker to the Guardian.

On the charm offensive

27 November 2010 12:00 am

Derek Hill (1916–2000), writes Bruce Arnold, was an English representational landscape and portrait painter of ‘haunting and evocative creative spirituality that is perhaps indefinable’.

BOOKENDS: Xmas with the exes

20 November 2010 10:00 am

‘I only see radiators these days’, announces one of the characters in this novel — ‘You know, people who give out heat and warmth.’ A radiator is a pretty good description of India Knight’s Comfort and Joy (Fig Tree/ Penguin, £14.99), too: a book so kindly and funny and affectionate that you could probably warm your hands on it.

Books of the Year

20 November 2010 12:00 am

A further selection of the best books of 2010, chosen by some of our regular contributors

Change, decay and success

20 November 2010 12:00 am

After having for so long been treated with such disdain by the French literary establishment, Michel Houellebecq has at last been embraced by it.

So far from God . . .

20 November 2010 12:00 am

Ciudad Juárez, Mexico’s second largest border city, is clogged with rubbish, fouled with car exhaust and, increasingly, flooded with narcotics.

Unpredictable pleasures

20 November 2010 12:00 am

As befits a magazine with an erudite and international readership, I shall begin this review with a short salutation in the Western Greenland Eskimo language: ‘Ata, sûlorsimavutit!’ The phrase, as some of you — although I fear reprehensibly few — will know means: ‘Well, now you have again relieved yourself in your trousers.’ One can, I think, deduce two things from this.

Follow your star

20 November 2010 12:00 am

In these straitened times it looks as if a great many more hours of most people’s days will have to be spent waiting in queues.

The body in the library

13 November 2010 12:00 am

Jacques Bonnet is a distinguished French art historian and novelist who has amassed a private library of 40,000 volumes (around double the number contained in the average Waterstones).

Groupthink and doubletalk

23 October 2010 12:00 am

Soon after his historic victory over John McCain, Barack Obama was ushered into a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) located deep inside the Federal building in Chicago to receive his first top-secret intelligence briefing as President-elect.

Two of a kind

23 October 2010 12:00 am

They were ‘soulmates’ according to people who knew both of them.