George Cochrane

Vanity Fair updated: Becky, by Sarah May, reviewed

Insofar as every reading of a book is a retelling of it, a writer needs a very good reason for doing a ‘contemporary retelling’ of a classic. In giving Becky Sharp the fleshed-out backstory denied her in Vanity Fair, Sarah May more than meets that requirement, though her novel still suffers by its proximity to

The horrors of lynching: The Trees, by Percival Everett, reviewed

Percival Everett’s 22nd novel The Trees was that rare thing on this year’s Booker shortlist: a genre novel. Only which genre? Crime is its first claimant – the bickering Bryants of Money, Mississippi having stumbled straight off an Elmore Leonard page. Then it’s horror – the obscenity of the first Bryant death rivalling the grisliest