tue 21/11/2017

fiction

Eureka: novelist Anthony Quinn on completing his acclaimed trilogy

I am intrigued by those writers who plan their novels with the bristling rigour of a military strategist, drilling their characters like counters on a model battlefield. And impressed that they seem in absolute control of the direction their story...

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Arundhati Roy: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness review - brilliant fragments of divided India

Just as in the United States, the quest among Indian authors in English to deliver the single, knock-out novel that would capture their country’s infinite variety has long been the stuff of parody. More than two decades ago, the writer-politician...

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Muhsin Al-Ramli: 'During Saddam’s regime at least we knew who the enemy was' - interview

Saddam Hussein’s name is never mentioned in The President’s Gardens, even though he haunts every page. The one time that the reader encounters him directly, he is referred to simply by his title. In a novel of vivid pictures, the almost...

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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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