tue 23/05/2017

fiction

Colm Tóibín: House of Names review - bleakly beautiful twilight of the gods

The news that Colm Tóibín has written a novel about Orestes, Clytemnestra, Electra and the whole accursed House of Atreus might prompt two instant responses. One could run: where does your man find the brass neck to compete with the titans of the...

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Haruki Murakami: Men Without Women review - a bit too abstract and post-modern

“I was a lamprey eel in a former life,” says a woman in “Scheherazade”, one of the most intriguing of the seven stories in Men without Women - it was previously published in the New Yorker, as were four of the others in the collection. Murakami is...

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Hanif Kureishi: The Nothing review - a glittering chamber of ice

Kureishi is mostly loved for his bittersweet panoramas of suburban London, ribald and piquant with satire. The Nothing discards that broad canvas and creeps into a glittering chamber of ice, in which the only subjects are the dying urges of the...

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Sunday Book: Jo Nesbo - The Thirst

The jacket designs of Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole thrillers don’t muck about. The novelist’s name with its anglicised spelling is branded in eye-catching upper-case yellow, accompanied by the latest sales figures. "Over five million copies sold worldwide...

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Sunday Book: Jean Hanff Korelitz - The Devil and Webster

Naomi Roth, president of Webster College, Massachusetts, has come a long way since readers first made her acquaintance in Korelitz’s second novel The Sabbathday River (1999). There, Roth was a well-meaning Vista (community service) volunteer...

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There's more to Karen Blixen than Meryl Streep

Karen Blixen (1885-1962), the prolific Danish storyteller, is perhaps most immediately recognised for the portrayal of her and her works on the big screen, above all by Meryl Streep in Out of Africa. But her own story, and her place in the literary...

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Sunday Book: Yrsa Sigurdardóttir - The Legacy

Anyone who's followed Yrsa's earlier novels, many of them featuring down-to-earth attorney Thora Gudmundsdóttir as heroine, will value her superb evocation of very distinct and haunting parts of Iceland - the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Heimaey island,...

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Sunday Book: Helen Dunmore - Birdcage Walk

Birdcage Walk in Bristol really exists. It runs under an arched canopy of branches though a long-disused graveyard in Clifton. At this eerie spot, all that remains of the blitzed church of St Andrew’s, rosebay willowherb grows waist-high but “no one...

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Sunday Book: George Saunders - Lincoln in the Bardo

George Saunders has written a historical novel. Of course, this being Saunders, author of four volumes of dystopian short stories about contemporary America (the wonderful Tenth of December is the most recent), it’s unlike any other. This is a tale...

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Sunday Book: Jake Arnott - The Fatal Tree

Novelist Jake Arnott has an eye for seedy glamour. The Fatal Tree takes the 1720s underworld - the setting of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, one of the most successful of all time - and adds more sex and a slick story, to make this rivetingly vivid...

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'My father Sabahattin Ali is being rediscovered'

I was 11 years old when my father was killed. A body was found near the border between Turkey and Bulgaria. According to authorities it belonged to my father even though the corpse was decomposed beyond recognition. My mother and his mother were not...

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Sunday Book: Tessa Hadley - Bad Dreams

In one of Tessa Hadley’s piercingly smart and subtle tales, a woman whose upwardly-mobile path has taken her from Leeds to Philadelphia works for a firm that manufactures instruments to test the “tensile strength” of materials. You can treat the...

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