wed 24/04/2024

book reviews and features

theartsdesk Q&A: Garrison Keillor

Jasper Rees

It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, and has been for the past 42 years, ever since Garrison Keillor first reported on the town's goings-on in his weekly radio show A Prairie Home Companion...

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Who was St Clair Bayfield?

Jasper Rees

This week Stephen Frears's film about Florence Foster Jenkins opens. It will bring to the widest attention yet the story of a New York socialite who couldn’t sing and yet did sing, infamously, to...

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Søren Dahlgaard’s Dough Portraits

theartsdesk

Can a portrait really be a portrait if we can’t see a person’s face? And what if the reason we can’t see their face is that it is covered with a lump of dough? Is it a joke? And if it is a joke,...

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Extract: The Time Traveller’s Guide to British Theatre

Aleks Sierz And

Theatre is one of the glories of British culture, a melting pot of creativity and innovation. Beginning with the coronation of Elizabeth I and ending with the televised crowning of the current...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Günter Grass

Kate Connolly

The Nobel prize-winning writer, playwright and artist Günter Grass was arguably the best-known German-language author of the second half of the 20th century. Kate Connolly met him in May 2010 in...

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theartsdesk at the Port Eliot Festival

Mark Hudson

Remember when festivals were only about what they were ostensibly about? When, say, Reading offered nothing beyond hard rock bar disgusting toilets, overpriced hamburgers and the prospect of a...

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Extracts: John Tusa - Pain in the Arts

Ismene Brown

In the midst of ferment as the arts world faces fast-shrinking public subsidy, Sir John Tusa, former managing director of the BBC World Service and the Barbican Arts Centre, publishes this week a...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Biographer Claire Tomalin on Charles Dickens

Jasper Rees

The tally of Charles Dickens’s biographers grows ever closer to 100. The English language’s most celebrated novelist repays repeated study, of course, because both his life and his work are so...

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'Books have been my life': Doris Lessing

Jasper Rees

Doris Lessing’s storm-tossed life would make a stirring biopic. She spent her early years on an isolated farm in the Southern Rhodesian veldt, abandoned the children of her first marriage to take...

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10 Questions for Count Arthur Strong

Jasper Rees

Autumn is a season of tumbling leaves, dark afternoons and of course fatuous memoirs from people off the telly. But every so often the world is taken by surprise, less by autumn itself than by the...

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latest in today

Ridout, Włoszczowska, Crawford, Lai, Posner, Wigmore Hall re...

Advice to young musicians, as given at several “how to market your career” seminars: don’t begin a biography with “one of the finest xxxs of his/...

Stephen review - a breathtakingly good first feature by a mu...

Stephen is the first feature film by multi-media artist Melanie Manchot and it’s the best debut film I’ve seen since Steve McQueen’s ...

Album: Mdou Moctar - Funeral for Justice

Despite its title, Mdou Moctar’s new album is no slow-paced mournful dirge. In fact, it is louder, faster and more overtly political than any of...

Blue Lights Series 2, BBC One review - still our best cop sh...

The first season of Blue Nights was so close to ...

Sabine Devieilhe, Mathieu Pordoy, Wigmore Hall review - ench...

Sabine Devieilhe, as with many other great sopranos, elicits much fan worship, with no less than three encores at her recent Wigmore Hall recital...

Jonn Elledge: A History of the World in 47 Borders review -...

In A History of the World in 47 Borders, Jonn Elledge takes an ostensibly dry subject – how maps and boundaries have shaped our world –...

DVD/Blu-Ray: Priscilla

There’s a scene in Priscilla where Elvis stands above his wife, who is scrambling to put her clothes in a suitcase. Priscilla has just...

Špaček, BBC Philharmonic, Bihlmaier, Bridgewater Hall, Manch...

Billed as a “Viennese Whirl”, this programme showed that there are different kinds of music that may be known to the orchestral canon as coming...

Banging Denmark, Finborough Theatre review - lively but conf...

What would happen if a notorious misogynist actually fell in love? With a glacial Danish librarian? And decided his best means of...

Album: Fred Hersch - Silent, Listening

The previous solo piano solo album from Fred Hersch, one of the world’s great...

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