thu 07/07/2022

book reviews and features

Tessa Hadley: Free Love review - the Sixties, the suburbs and the hippie dream

Markie Robson-Scott

Free Love opens in 1967 and remains within that heady era throughout; no flashbacks, no spanning of generations as in Hadley's wonderful novels The Past or Late in the Day...

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Best of 2021: Books

theartsdesk

“Duck! Here comes another year.” We can, I think, all empathise with the motions and emotions of Ogden Nash’s new year poem, “Good Riddance, But Now What?” Before, however, we bid a troublesome...

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The Holiness of Sex: Leonard Cohen's Biblical Theology

Harry Freedman

On hearing that I had recently written a book about Leonard Cohen, someone asked me why I thought Bob Dylan...

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Peter Robison: Flying Blind review – a story of decline and crawl

John Carvill

Thomas Pynchon’s saturnine '70s novel Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) begins with “[a] screaming [that] comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.”...

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Lucie Elven: The Weak Spot review - a cryptic modern fable

Izzy Smith

For most of us, fluttering our eyelids to convince a loved one to cook dinner is harmless meddling. Complimenting our boss on their new coat before asking for a promotion is necessary cunning. For...

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Sarah Moss: The Fell review - a dark night on the hills

India Lewis

Sarah Moss’s new novel is a slim snapshot of a moment of fear and danger in the year of Covid. That year when judgement and recrimination ruled, and neighbourly feeling was in short supply. It is...

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Claire Tomalin: The Young H.G. Wells review – days of the comet

Boyd Tonkin

In late 1894 an unknown 28-year-old science tutor and wannabe writer finished a story in his dismal lodgings just north of Euston station. Divorced, after a brief, calamitous marriage to a cousin...

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Devin Jacobsen: Breath Like the Wind at Dawn review – the disturbances of the Civil War

Jessica Payn

How do you imagine the wind at dawn? Biting, brisk, peremptory – a kind of summons as another day begins? 

For Les Tamplin, wife-beater, sheriff, father to three sons, it is a detective...

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Ruth Ozeki: The Book of Form and Emptiness review - where the objects speak

CP Hunter

“Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.” Ruth Ozeki’s latest novel takes its name from a Buddhist heart sutra...

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Mark Bould: The Anthropocene Unconscious review - climate anxiety is written everywhere

Jon Turney

Our everyday lives, if we’re fortunate, may be placid, even contented. A rewarding job, for some; good eats; warm home; happy family; entertainment on tap. Yet, even for the privileged, awareness...

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latest in today

Love Supreme Festival, Sunday review - eclectic jazz on the...

By day three of any festival things are usually winding down. But there was a sense that...

Album: Vyvyan - Y

After four years, three releases and a slew of remixes, the identity of spotlight-shunning producer Vyvyan ended up the subject of intense...

theartsdesk at the East Neuk Festival 2022 - on Cloud Nine f...

Last year’s relatively slimline East Neuk Festival felt like a feast in time of plague. This July everything was back to full strength in numerous...

Jessie Burton: The House of Fortune review - a muted, sensit...

A sequel is always a hard thing to write, especially if the book that precedes it is a bestseller, adapted for television and read by more than a...

Album: Viagra Boys - Cave World

The third album from Stockholm rowdies Viagra Boys doesn’t muck about with what they do, but it’s more persistently punkin’ than their last. There...

Mick Jagger: My Life as a Rolling Stone review, BBC Two - th...

At the beginning of this film, Mick Jagger says: “What most...

Alcina, Glyndebourne review - Handel on the strand

Reviewing the Grange Festival production of Tamerlano the other day, I noted the difficulty...

Favour, Bush Theatre review - Ambreen Razia's punchy ne...

Where should Leila live — Ilford or Kent? It doesn’t sound like an earth-shattering decision for a 15-year-old to make, but the stakes...

Album: Laura Veirs - Found Light

The last minute of Found Light’s third track “Seaside Haiku” is defined by the repetition of a single phrase: “give but don’t give too...

Music Reissues Weekly: Ferkat Al Ard - Oghneya

Oghneya opens with the extraordinary “Matar Al Sabah.” Jazzy, with an overt Brazilian feel it gently swings and swoons....

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