Memoir

‘We are not cattle, we’re people’: everyday hell in Stalin’s labour camps

11 August 2018 9:00 am

‘No testimony from this time must ever be forgotten,’ the great Lithuanian poet Tomas Venclova says in his afterword to…

It’s the wreckage of alcoholism, not the road to recovery, that makes for enthralling reading

16 June 2018 9:00 am

The Recovering by Leslie Jamison, novelist, columnist, bestselling essayist and assistant professor at Columbia University, makes for bracing reading. Clever,…

Fried squid, stale sweat and sensuality in Ian Buruma’s Tokyo

12 May 2018 9:00 am

In 1975, the 24-year-old Ian Buruma (now an award-winning essayist and historian, and the editor of the New York Review…

Rao Pingru and his siblings make a lion lantern with their mother

Enduring life under Chairman Mao

5 May 2018 9:00 am

Hilary Spurling is enchanted by depictions of simple family pleasures throughout years of famine and persecution

Portrait of Helen by John Bellany

The ordeal of being married (twice) to John Bellany

5 May 2018 9:00 am

Misery memoirs are in vogue. There is much misery in this harrowing account of married life with John Bellany (1942–2013)…

Lamont ‘U-God’ Hawkins in 1995

The futile gang wars of New York

5 May 2018 9:00 am

I’ve interviewed a lot of rappers over the years and always feel a little grimy when I find myself nudging…

The misery of policing the US–Mexico border

5 May 2018 9:00 am

Francisco Cantú’s mother is surprised when he announces he’s joining the Border Patrol and going to work in the Arizona…

Laura Freeman reads her way out of anorexia

24 February 2018 9:00 am

It is hard to be honest about anorexia. The illness breeds deceit and distortion: ‘It thrives on looking-glass logic. It…

The best way to escape my abusive family was to write novels

17 February 2018 9:00 am

Early on in Amy Tan’s 1989 bestseller, The Joy Luck Club, a Chinese concubine slices a chunk of flesh from…

It’s not a wave’s crest, but its translucent interior that surfers dream of

17 February 2018 9:00 am

Surfing has come of age. Like rock and roll, it was once strictly for young people, edgy and alternative and…

Lady Lucan, a week after the murder

How Lucky Lucan begged me for money shortly before mistakenly murdering the nanny

17 February 2018 9:00 am

A Moment in Time reminded me of the sort of British expatriate women I used to meet in the south…

Despite her inability to talk or swallow, Genevieve Fox brims with joie de vivre

17 February 2018 9:00 am

A good, solid life-threatening illness can be the making of a writer. This has certainly been the case for Genevieve…

Never had it so good: British novelists in the 1980s

13 January 2018 9:00 am

In 1990, the BBC’s adaptation of David Lodge’s culture-clash novel Nice Work won an award at a glitzy soirée in…

A master of Norwegian wood

16 December 2017 9:00 am

Ole Thorstensen has been a carpenter for 25 years. A master craftsman, in fact. He is busy working on a…

What will Katie Hopkins do next?

9 December 2017 9:00 am

In her memoir Rude, the former Mail Online columnist Katie Hopkins reveals her true self. She does this by accident,…

Secrets of an abused aristocratic childhood

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Charles Duff’s memoir tells a sad tale of cruelty and betrayal with spry wit rather than bitter resentment. Notwithstanding the…

Adam Gopnik: 30 years of New Yorker life

21 October 2017 9:00 am

When Adam Gopnik arrived in Manhattan in late 1980 he was an art history postgrad so poor that he and…

Nature’s cure for an unhappy childhood

9 September 2017 9:00 am

As naturalist, educator and writer, John Lister-Kaye was for many years a voice in the wilderness. In 1976, when nature…

Homer Simpson meets Homer on a Mediterranean cruise

9 September 2017 9:00 am

Milan Kundera has said that Homer’s Odyssey was the first novel. I’m not so sure — the verse kind of…

‘My witchcraft is going well’: The crazed Eva Rausing, photographed shortly before her death

All about Eva: Sigrid Rausing’s shocking portrait of her sister-in-law

9 September 2017 9:00 am

It’s awful, but the surname Rausing (once synonymous only with the Tetrapak fortune) now summons up a terrible stench in…

Diets, tans and tiny clothes: body-builders are becoming stereotypically female

26 August 2017 9:00 am

Is this the best book I’ve ever read on the subject of masculinity? Maybe it is, I thought, the first…

Death always makes for lively reading

26 August 2017 9:00 am

It’s an irony of our secular age that the more we fear death, the more enticing we find it. The…

The formidable Thelma Holt (right) with Vanessa Redgrave in 1987

Sweetpea Slight’s adventures in theatreland were far from sweet

12 August 2017 9:00 am

The story of Sweetpea Slight is a footnote to a footnote in the annals of British theatre. Even her name…

No one person can speak for all on the autistic spectrum

5 August 2017 9:00 am

The Reason I Jump, by the autistic Japanese teenager Naoki Higashida, was a surprise bestseller in 2013. Rendered as a…

Parker, Edna and Richard Ford, V-J Day 1945

Richard Ford gets to know his parents – after their deaths

17 June 2017 9:00 am

One of the great challenges in life, writes Richard Ford in Between Them, ‘is to know our parents fully —…