Road trip

Lorrie Moore’s latest novel is deeply troubling, but also consoling

Sometimes a novel’s means are so strange, however compelling its final effect on the reader, that a straightforward account of it will be most helpful. I’ve read, or part-read, this novel three times now. On the first reading I gave up, shaking my head. On the second I got to the end, but thought it absurdly wilful, self-absorbed and idiosyncratic to the point of whimsy. The third reading – something, after all, must have drawn me back – exerted an appalling power, and I emerged shaken, troubled, but also consoled. Take your pick. This is a book that is going to divide people, and one that can look very different

Back on the road: Less is Lost, by Andrew Sean Greer, reviewed

Get ready for more of Less: Andrew Sean Greer’s hapless novelist is back on the road. First things first: you need to have read Less, Greer’s Pulitzer-winning first outing for his creation, to appreciate this slighter but equally charming sequel. That’s no hardship. Less was hilarious and humane: a hymn to second acts. In it, Arthur Less – a tentative, faded Battenberg blond-and-pink man, around whom embarrassments and misunderstandings coalesce – scuttled across the world to avoid facing his 50th birthday and the wedding of his long-time lover Freddy to someone else, both imminent. In Less is Lost, Arthur has a stranger and scarier destination for a West Coast homosexual:

Looks lovely if nothing else: Craig and Bruno’s Great British Road Trips reviewed

To its huge credit, ITV has managed to find perhaps the last two television celebrities who’ve never before been filmed travelling around Britain while exchanging light banter and using the word ‘iconic’ a lot. In Craig and Bruno’s Great British Road Trips, the Strictly judges are driving a Union flag-bedecked Mini through such telegenic staples of heart-warming TV dramas as the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the Scottish Highlands. For the opening episode, the choice fell on the Cornish coast, which certainly helped the programme achieve its primary aim of looking lovely. But this, as it transpired, was just as well — because for a fair amount of the

Two for the road: We Are Not in the World, by Conor O’Callaghan, reviewed

A father and his estranged 20-year-old daughter set off across France, sharing the driver’s cabin of a long-haul truck. This is a road trip like no other: Paddy, deracinated, footloose, divorced, taking on a temporary job for reasons that become clear later; and daughter Kitty, spiky, provocative, shaved head, grubby jeans and sweater, wrapped in an old mink coat she’s pinched from her grandmother. Occasionally she rewards her father with an ambiguous affectionate response as their edgy banter veers in and out of dangerous territory: the minefield of parenthood. The narrative is fractured; nothing told chronologically, the surface deliberately throw-away — skewed punctuation, sentences left hanging. Conor O’Callaghan is a