thu 08/12/2022

book reviews and features

Patti Smith: A Book of Days review - adding to Insta's debris

Hugh Barnes

On April Fool’s Day, in 1978, the godmother of American punk, Patti Smith, jumped offstage at the Rainbow Theatre in...

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Derek Owusu: Losing the Plot review - the finest perfume

Harriet Mercer

Derek Owusu’s debut That Reminds Me won the Desmond Elliot Prize in 2020. When asked what it was that she loved most about Owusu’s semi-autobiographical 117-page book, Preti Taneja, chair...

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Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of the Imagination, Science Museum review - travel to a galaxy not so far away

Jon Turney

Scenes that stay in the mind: Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator peeling back the skin on his forearm to reveal the gleaming machinery within; a beady-eyed, new-born Alien bursting from John...

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Annie Proulx: Fen, Bog & Swamp review - defending the wetlands' bounty

India Lewis

Annie Proulx’s Fen, Bog & Swamp sees the Pulitzer-winning novelist join a number of authors decrying the ecological devastation we’re wreaking on the planet. James Rebanks’ ...

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Cormac McCarthy: The Passenger review - abstruse, descriptive, digressive

India Lewis

Cormac McCarthy’s first books in over a decade are coming out this year, a month apart from one another. The Passenger tells the story of deep-sea diver Bobby Western, desperately in love...

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Mariana Enriquez: Our Share of Night review - delving into a violent, erotic world

India Lewis

Tense with horror and the sticky darkness of the Argentinian night, Mariana Enriquez’s writing is rich and occult. Her epic novel, Our Share of Night, vividly translated from the Spanish...

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William Boyd: The Romantic review - historical soap opera, anyone?

Hugh Barnes

Writing in the Edinburgh Review in 1814, Francis Jeffrey began his review of Wordsworth’s The Excursion with a provocative denunciation of romanticism: “This will never do,” he...

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Andrew Murray: Is Socialism Possible in Britain? review - what went wrong and why Corbynism failed

Hugh Barnes

The title of Andrew Murray’s new book poses a question that also vexed Friedrich Engels over 130 years ago. The German co-...

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Savala Nolan: Don't Let It Get You Down review - finding voice in the liminal

Hannah Hutching

Liminal: a word that conjures thresholds and between states. Caught between three languages – the adjective is a borrowing from the Latin that enters English by way of German – ...

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Yiyun Li: The Book of Goose - fame, reality and two teenage French girls

Markie Robson-Scott

The Book of Goose, Yiyun Li’s fifth novel, is the gripping story of two teenage French girls and their...

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Harry & Meghan, Netflix review - at home with the Harkle...

There’s no stopping Harry and Meghan. Logic, reason and facts can’t stand in the way of their “war on oppression and injustice” and determination...

Sarah, Coronet Theatre review - a one-man whirlwind

The American author of The Sarah Book, on which the monologue Sarah is based, is called Scott McClanahan, as is his...

George & Tammy, Paramount+ review - alcohol, violence an...

Some may consider country music to be corny, sentimental...

Album: Neil Diamond - A Neil Diamond Christmas

Oy vey. Where to start. This is essentially painful – and I write that knowing that Neil Diamond is a genuinely nice guy and that he is now...

Hex, National Theatre review - 12 months after being sent to...

Hovering way, way above us, three aptly named high fairies, in voluminous chiffon, open a show that may not be airy in the metaphorical...

Ruination, Linbury Theatre review - Medea gets a makeover

At a time when every other theatre is offering an alternative Christmas show, what to make of the Royal Opera House’s first collaboration with...

Album: Backstreet Boys - A Very Backstreet Christmas

Good things don’t tend to come in slews. Slews seem to be reserved, pretty much exclusively, for the bad stuff: legal issues, school shootings,...

Orlando, Garrick Theatre review - Emma Corrin is incandescen...

Identity is thorny business. This was the parting thought of Anna X, the play that marked Emma Corrin’s West End debut in the summer of...

Blu-ray: The Cat and the Canary (1939) / The Ghost Breakers...

Paramount added a late “old dark house” mystery comedy to Hollywood’s annus mirabilis of 1939 by teaming Bob Hope with...