Fiction

Alexander Chee. Credit Bloomsbury Publishing

Does an autobiographical novel really count as fiction?

17 November 2018 9:00 am

Orhan Pamuk, writing about Vladimir Nabokov’s masterful memoir Speak, Memory, noted that there was a particular ‘thrill’ for the writer…

Credit Getty Images

A darkly comic road trip: The Remainder, by Alia Trabucco Zerán, reviewed

10 November 2018 9:00 am

You could call The Remainder a literary kaleidoscope: look at it one way and you see how the past lays…

Marat was assassinated in his bath by Charlotte Corday in 1793. Credit Getty Images

Horrors of the house of wax: Little, by Edward Carey, reviewed

3 November 2018 9:00 am

The reader of Edward Carey’s Little must have a tender heart and a strong stomach. You will weep, you will…

Jonathan Coe. Credit: Getty Images

A novel view of Brexit: Middle England, by Jonathan Coe, reviewed

3 November 2018 9:00 am

Jonathan Coe writes compelling, humane and funny novels, but you sometimes suspect he wants to write more audacious ones. He…

Barbara Kingsolver. Credit David Wood

Treat in store: Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver, reviewed

3 November 2018 9:00 am

In a living room in Vineland, New Jersey, in the 1870s, a botanist and entomologist named Mary Treat studied the…

Sergio De La Pava. Credit Brian Hawkin

Manic creations: Lost Empress: A Protest, by Sergio De La Pava, reviewed

20 October 2018 9:00 am

American mass-incarceration is the most overt object of the ‘protest’ of this novel’s subtitle. The author, Sergio De La Pava,…

Haruki Murakami. Credit Elena Seibert

Gatsby in Japan: Killing Commendatore, by Haruki Murakami, reviewed

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Haruki Murakami’s Killing Commendatore was published in Japan in February last year. Early press releases for this English version hailed…

Kett refuses the King’s pardon on Mousehold Heath. Credit: Getty Images

Kidnapped by Kett: Tombland, by C.J. Sansom, reviewed

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Tombland is not to be treated lightly. Its length hints at its ambitions. Here is a Tudor epic disguised as…

Secrets and lies: Berta Isla, by Javier Marías, reviewed

13 October 2018 9:00 am

A novel by Javier Marías, as his millions of readers know, is never what it purports to be. Spain’s most…

The passions of Paulo: Enigma Variations, by André Aciman, reviewed

13 October 2018 9:00 am

André Aciman’s 2007 debut novel, Call Me By Your Name, was a sensuous, captivating account of the passionate love a…

Karl Ove Knausgaard

The urge to purge: it’s closure at last for the tortured Karl Ove Knausgaard

1 September 2018 9:00 am

And so it comes, the final volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle sequence: a pale brick of a book,…

It happened one summer: Bitter Orange, by Claire Fuller, reviewed

11 August 2018 9:00 am

Approaching her death, and the end of Claire Fuller’s third novel, Frances Jellico — for the most part a stickler…

A Weekend in New York, by Benjamin Markovits, reviewed

30 June 2018 9:00 am

I wrote foul-mouthed marginalia throughout Benjamin Markovits’s A Weekend in New York. Not because Markovits is a bad writer —…

Less, by Andrew Sean Greer, reviewed

30 June 2018 9:00 am

For someone who is only 47 and has won a Pulitzer Prize, Andrew Sean Greer certainly knows how to get…

A love letter to the short story

30 June 2018 9:00 am

On a recent Guardian podcast, Chris Power — who has written a short story column in the Guardian for a…

Rock and Roll is Life: The True Story of the Helium Kids by One Who Was There: A Novel, by D.J. Taylor, reviewed

16 June 2018 9:00 am

The narrator-protagonist of D.J. Taylor’s new novel, a mild-mannered Oxford graduate named Nick Du Pont, has resisted the lure of…

The Shape of the Ruins, by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, reviewed

16 June 2018 9:00 am

What makes Colombia remind me of Ireland? It’s not only the soft rain that falls from grey skies on the…

Happy Little Bluebirds, by Louise Levene, reviewed

16 June 2018 9:00 am

In 1940, the British Security Coordination sent an agent with an assistant to a Hollywood film studio to help promote…

William Trevor, photographed in 1993

The wilder shores of excess in William Trevor’s fiction

19 May 2018 9:00 am

Many of William Trevor’s best characters defy social conventions. Breaking the rules of behaviour is a recurring theme in his superbly crafted short stories, says Philip Hensher

Zen tales and flights of fancy: Patient X reviewed

5 May 2018 9:00 am

The target audience for David Peace’s new novel appears almost defiantly niche. Certainly, any readers in the embarrassing position of…

Root and branch: Richard Powers is determined to save the world’s trees

5 May 2018 9:00 am

This is a novel about trees, written in the shape of a tree (eight introductory background chapters, called ‘Roots’; a…

A Book of Chocolate Saints: an Indian novel like no other

24 March 2018 9:00 am

The Indian poet Jeet Thayil’s first novel, Narcopolis, charted a two-decade-long descent into the underworlds of Mumbai and addiction. One…

The Adulterants: a caustic take on London’s brutal property market

24 February 2018 9:00 am

Often a blurb exaggerates, but rarely does it fundamentally misrepresent (unless it contains the words ‘In the tradition of…’). The…

The body count piles up in Mick Herron’s London Rules

24 February 2018 9:00 am

The well-written spy novel is not a hotly contested field. Le Carré, Fleming, Deighton, a few Greenes, and that’s largely…

The thrill of living dangerously inspires the latest first novels

13 January 2018 9:00 am

Here come three novels marketed as debuts but written by authors with some sort of previous, be it in short…