Foreign fields: Boyd Tonkin chooses his favourite shorter classics in translation

If I had a rouble or a euro for every reader who fulfilled their lockdown promise to devour Dostoevsky, Tolstoy or Proust my bank account would hardly grow by a single penny. Duty, guilt and pride never made the pages turn more swiftly, whatever a book’s length. Almost all vows to catch up on doorstopper classics from the global canon will have failed to outlast the fallen blossoms. Yet you might more realistically blend discovery and delight by exploring some of the smaller miracles of great fiction in translation. Freshly completed, in first-rate new translations, the 75 volumes of Georges Simenon’s Maigret mysteries bear witness to a Penguin Modern Classics

The best recordings of Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges

‘I don’t want to do my work. I want to go for a walk. I want to eat all the cakes… to shout at everybody!’ Which of us hasn’t felt like this at some point during the past ten weeks? The small child at the centre of Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges speaks for us all as he rages against the restrictions of his suddenly enclosed and joyless world. Shut in the schoolroom until he finishes his homework, the little boy lashes out, spilling ink on the carpet, smashing the crockery, snapping the pendulum off the clock, tearing the wallpaper and terrorising the cat. But just as his tantrum is