fri 10/07/2020

fiction

Bette Howland: Blue in Chicago review – the city on trial, with the writer as witness

You feel at times, while reading the collection Blue in Chicago, that Bette Howland might have missed her vocation. In another life, Howland – until recently almost completely lost to literary history – could have made a name for herself as a...

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The Luminaries, BBC One review - one of the most visually arresting dramas of the year

Alarm bells start ringing whenever you discover an author is adapting their own work for a screenplay. In the case of New Zealand novelist Eleanor Catton, the alarm proves to be false. Over the course of seven years, and apparently 200 drafts...

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The King of Staten Island review - Apatow's best work in a decade

The master of crowd-pleasing comedy, Judd Apatow, returns with another on-brand tale of arrested development with The King of Staten Island. While it's near his signature anarchic charm, this comedy-drama shows that even a veteran director/...

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Book extract: Holiday Heart by Margarita García Robayo translated by Charlotte Coombe

Holiday heart, instead of sentimental love discovered on vacation, describes a faltering organ, overloaded from excess consumption: a heart at risk. In Margarita Garcia Robayo’s brilliantly observant, often sardonically pitched novel, the heart...

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Keiichiro Hirano: A Man review - the best kind of thriller

Keiichiro Hirano’s A Man has all the trappings of a gripping detective story: a bereaved wife, a dead man whose name belongs to someone else, mysterious coded letters, a lawyer intent on uncovering the truth. Together with a wilfully understated...

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Alex George: The Paris Hours review - captivating yet frustrating

A century on, the années folles of Paris between the wars do not cease to excite readers and writers of all varieties. Alex George’s latest novel, The Paris Hours, draws on the myriad charms the interwar period has to offer, condensing them into a...

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Elizabeth Kay: Seven Lies review - can big-money debut match the hype?

Seven Lies is the debut novel of Elizabeth Kay, who under another name works as a commissioning editor in publishing. For how long will she stay in her day job when her pseudonymous moonlighting has already reaped vast rewards? Her thriller emerges...

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Treasure Island, National Theatre at Home review - all aboard this thrilling adventure story

Swaggering pirates, X marks the spot, a chattering parrot, “Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum”? All present and correct. But Bryony Lavery’s winning 2014 adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson for the National, directed by Polly Findlay, also features...

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Who You Think I Am review - Juliette Binoche dazzles as she wrestles with dual identities

With influences as diverse as Hitchcock’s Vertigo to 2010’s Catfish, Safy Nebbou’s genre-splicing French-language feature, starring Juliette Binoche, comes loaded with a heady mix of cheap thrills and surprising psychological depth....

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Nathalie Léger: The White Dress review – masterfully introverted

Nathalie Léger’s The White Dress brings personal and public tragedy together in a narrative as absorbingly melancholic as its subject is shocking. The story described by Léger’s narrator – a scarcely fictional version of herself – is of the...

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Hilary Fannin: The Weight of Love review – unravelling knotty lives

The relationship between Joe, Robin and Ruth is far from your average love triangle. On the face of it, Robin loves Ruth, but after introducing her to his charismatic friend Joe – an artist and renegade – their affair reroutes all of their lives...

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Michael Nath: The Treatment review - 'deeds, and language, such as men do use'

Great writing about – or set in – London has one thing in common: voice. It’s tuned into the city’s multiple frequencies, its sometimes marvellous, sometimes maddening mix of different registers and rhythms. It adopts and adapts the capital’s...

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