tue 20/02/2024

book reviews and features

Lydia Sandgren: Collected Works review - the mysteries that surround us all

India Lewis

Lydia Sandgren’s debut novel, Collected Works, a bestseller in her native Sweden, has now been translated by Agnes Broomé into English, in all its 733-page glory. An epic family saga, it...

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Jonathan Kennedy: Pathogenesis - How Germs Made History review - a return to the infections that formed us

Jon Turney

The Cayapo tribe, a shade under 10,000 strong, lived in South America unacquainted with humans in the wider world until 1903. That year, they accepted a missionary who, along with news of...

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Loving Highsmith review - documentary focused on the writer's lighter side

Helen Hawkins

Since her death in 1995, Patricia Highsmith has prompted three biographies, screeds of often conflicting psychological analysis and now this...

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Diana Evans: A House for Alice review - lyrical sequel to Ordinary People

Markie Robson-Scott

Diana Evans specialises in houses, their baleful quirks and the meaning of home. In her acclaimed third novel, Ordinary People (2018), formerly happy, black couple Melissa and Michael...

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Colin Herd and Maria Sledmere: Cocoa and Nothing review - arts of sinking

Alice Brewer

In his mock-poetic manual Peri-Bathos (1728), Alexander Pope opens by describing the afflictions which beset inhabitants of the lower Parnassus. The aristocracy living further up the...

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Seraphina Madsen: Aurora review - the tarot won’t save us

Hannah Hutching

“There is another world… a way of perceiving that is chaotic and awesome and terrifying,” announces Seraphina Madsen’s cigarillo-smoking, telepathic cat.

Lecturing a teenage coven on the art...

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Margaret Atwood: Old Babes in the Wood review - bookending the short story

India Lewis

Margaret Atwood has been writing for sixty years now, and, with her latest publication, she has given us a book...

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Janet Malcolm: Still Pictures - On Photography and Memory review - a rare glimpse at a guarded personal history

Hugh Barnes

For almost half a century, from the mid-1960s until her death in 2021, Janet Malcolm was a staff writer on the New Yorker where her meticulous reporting and provocatively strong opinions...

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Nicole Flattery: Nothing Special review - returning to the Factory

India Lewis

It seems that Andy Warhol’s Factory – silver-dusted and populated with tragic, drug-addicted minor...

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Will Harris: Brother Poem review - writing the poems that could have been

Jack Barron

You shouldn’t always judge a book by its cover, but you can get pretty far with an epigraph. The epigraph to Will Harris’s new collection, Brother Poem (following his T. S. Eliot Prize-...

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The Way, BBC One review - steeltown blues

This three-part drama arrives trailing clouds of big-byline...

Dance for Ukraine Gala, London Palladium review - a second r...

It’s tempting to see the second gala created by Ukrainian-born Ivan Putrov as a reflection of the shift in Ukraine’s fortunes since his first one...

Sheila Heti: Alphabetical Diaries review - an A-Z of inner l...

After a first read of the blurb for Sheila Heti’s Alphabetical Diaries, you might be forgiven for assuming that this is merely a gimmick...

Blu-ray: Jerzy Skolimowski - Walkower, Bariera, Dialóg 20-40...

Diving into this three-disc set of early films by maverick...

Kin, Series 2, BBC One review - when crime dynasties collide

The end of the first series of Kin found Dublin’s Kinsella crime family ridding themselves of bloodsucking...

Fung, BBC Philharmonic, Weilerstein, Bridgewater Hall, Manch...

Placing the UK premiere of Katherine Balch’s whisper concerto (for cello and orchestra) after...

Paul Foot, Soho Theatre review - how to discover the meaning...

It's probably fair to say that Paul Foot is an acquired taste for some; his absurdist, poetic comedy isn't for everyone but he has built a strong...

Album: MGMT - Loss of Life

The dolefulness of the title Loss of Life is reflected by what’s in the grooves. The lyrics of the Todd Rundgren/Queen-esque fifth track...

Music Reissues Weekly: Lou Christie - Gypsy Bells

Lou Christie fancied offering some social comment. The lyrics of his May 1967 single “Self Expression (The Kids on the Street Will Never Give in...

Turning the Screw, King’s Head Theatre review - Britten and...

David Hemmings was, by his own later admission, a knowing and bumptious boy when Britten cast him as the ill-fated Miles in his operatic...

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