Fiction

All in the family – a bitter struggle for control of a global fortune; Dunbar reviewed

23 September 2017 9:00 am

When millionaires become billionaires they become even greedier and more ruthless. At the highest level, Trumpian economics can be lethal.…

J.M. Coetzee’s essays are filtered through boundless reserves of knowledge, wisdom and reading

23 September 2017 9:00 am

Given the brilliance of his career as a fiction-writer, it is easy to forget that J.M. Coetzee has a commensurate…

Ryan Gattis’s new novel, Safe, can’t quite capture the vividness of his debut

16 September 2017 9:00 am

All Involved, Ryan Gattis’s breakout novel about the LA riots of 1992, was an absolute blast. Ballsy, vivid and immersive,…

Salman Rushdie’s dystopic – and frighteningly real – vision of America

16 September 2017 9:00 am

Life has far more imagination than we do, says the epigraph from Truffaut that opens Salman Rushdie’s 12th novel —…

Midlife anxiety: Roddy Doyle’s Smile reviewed

16 September 2017 9:00 am

As Roddy Doyle’s 12th novel begins, Victor Forde, a washed-up writer, has returned to the part of Dublin where he…

If I reread the entire Smiley sequence, will I understand it this time?

9 September 2017 9:00 am

If you had to choose one book that both typified spy fiction and celebrated what the genre was capable of…

Bombay schooldays revisited

26 August 2017 9:00 am

During a press interview in Bombay about his latest book, the author-narrator of Friend of My Youth feels ‘a surge…

Spies, plots and a temple of doom

26 August 2017 9:00 am

A CIA agent, a naive young filmmaker, a dilettante heir and a lost Mayan temple form the basis of Ned…

A clash of creeds in Old and New Ulster: Nick Laird’s Modern Gods reviewed

12 August 2017 9:00 am

This is a very modern novel. Terrorist atrocity sits side by side with the familiar and the mundane. Where better…

Neel Mukherjee tackles the desperate inequalities of India

12 August 2017 9:00 am

Neel Mukherjee has had a two-handed literary career, working as a reviewer of other people’s novels and writing his own.…

Hilary Mantel Reith Lecture exclusive: Can These Bones Live?

24 June 2017 9:00 am

Treading the line between history and alternative facts

A new Ripper mystery: Why Patricia Cornwell won't stop hunting him

18 March 2017 9:00 am

Why has crime writer Patricia Cornwell spent two decades and $6 million hunting Victorian London’s most notorious killer?

Denton Welch with baroque angel at Hadlow Road, Tonbridge, 1937

The embarrassing love letters of Denton Welch

4 March 2017 9:00 am

On the Whitsun weekend of 1935 an art student called Denton Welch was knocked off his bicycle by a car…

Whatever happened to Sir George? A festive finale to an eventful year

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Many (well, several) of you asked me what happened to George, the supermarket chairman who was the anti-hero of my…

The Dwelling: a Charlie Zailer Christmas story

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Charlie Zailer wasn’t sure if she’d won or lost. On the victory side of the equation, she’d managed to avoid…

Charles Burns’s Last Look.

Dark tales, graphically told

10 December 2016 9:00 am

A woman birthing bloated speckled eggs from her supernaturally swollen womb. Sushi screaming and squirming. A skull-shaped sweet, bearing the…

The only way wasn’t Wessex

19 November 2016 9:00 am

The ten pallbearers at Thomas Hardy’s funeral in Westminster Abbey on 16 January 1928 included Kipling, Barrie, Housman, Gosse, Galsworthy,…

Sean O’Brien explores a very English form of sadomasochism

27 August 2016 9:00 am

At first glance Sean O’Brien’s new novel appears to focus on England’s devotion to the past. Even its title carries…

The internal dreamworld of René Magritte

6 August 2016 9:00 am

Surrealism was, at least initially, as much about writing as painting. A plaque on the Hotel des Grands Hommes in…

Put a spell on you: Jamie Parker as Harry in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’

Platitudes, banalities and plotlines that punch each other in the face: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reviewed

6 August 2016 9:00 am

Consider it commercially. So powerful is the pull of the Potter franchise that the characters could simply re-enact the plot…

After the breakthrough: Jack Kerouac photographed by John Cohen, 1959

The picture that captures why Jack Kerouac will last forever

23 July 2016 9:00 am

Why Jack Kerouac’s fleeting moment will last for ever

Above and below: From Robin Dalton’s My Relations: ‘My second cousin, Penelope Wood, is an artist, or at least hopes to be one. She is only 16, but she has done some beautiful little paintings. I have one hanging in my room now. It is a landscape and is one she did when only 12 years old’

When mother killed the plumber — and Nellie Melba came round to sing

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Here’s a pair of little books — one even littler than the other — by Robin Dalton (née Eakin), a…

A Christmas parable from the Spectator’s business editor

12 December 2015 9:00 am

  I thought you might enjoy a little parable for Christmas, so here goes… The boardroom clock said twelve minutes…

Ian Rankin’s diary: Paris, ignoring Twitter and understanding evil

21 November 2015 9:00 am

After ten days away, I spent last Friday at home alone, catching up on washing, shopping for cat food, answering…

Umberto Eco really tries our patience

7 November 2015 9:00 am

Colonna, the protagonist of Umberto Eco’s latest novel, is the first to admit he is a loser. A middle-aged literary…