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Books | The Guardian



Latest books news, comment, reviews and analysis from the Guardian



Published: Fri, 26 May 2017 08:29:50 GMT2017-05-26T08:29:50Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017
 



Before His Dark Materials: how Lyra’s story began – exclusive extract

Fri, 26 May 2017 06:00:04 GMT2017-05-26T06:00:04Z

In an extract from his forthcoming novel, The Book of Dust, Philip Pullman returns to the magical world of Northern Lights

Eleven-year-old Malcolm lives with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford, across the river Thames from Godstow Priory, where the nuns are looking after a special guest. One night his father comes to Malcolm’s bedroom.

“Malcolm, you en’t in bed yet—good. Come downstairs for a minute. There’s a gentleman wants a word with you.”

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Knowing the Score by David Papineau review – sport meets philosophy

Fri, 26 May 2017 08:01:06 GMT2017-05-26T08:01:06Z

When rules don’t matter and the importance of genes are among the subjects of this anecdote-rich study by a sports-mad philosopher

David Papineau is an eminent philosopher and a passionate lover of sport. For much of his life, he has kept the two spheres separate, fearing that to mix them would produce a double diminishment: philosophy robbed of its seriousness and sport of its excitement. Then, in 2012, a colleague invited him to contribute to a lecture series titled “Philosophy and Sport”, organised to coincide with that year’s Olympics. “I couldn’t really refuse,” Papineau recalls. “I had an extensive knowledge of both philosophy and sport. If I wasn’t going to say yes, who would?”

For his topic, he chose the role of conscious thought in fast-reaction sports, such as tennis, cricket and baseball. How, he wondered, does Rafael Nadal use anything other than “automatic reflexes” in the half-second (or less) he has to return Roger Federer’s serve? How does he choose to hit the ball this way or that, to apply topspin or slice? Thinking about this not only proved “great fun”, but allowed Papineau to come away with a series of “substantial philosophical conclusions” about the relationship between intentions and action.

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Novel recipes: Macaroons from The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Armin

Thu, 25 May 2017 15:01:04 GMT2017-05-25T15:01:04Z

Enjoying the abundance of a Tuscan holiday, I devoured Von Armin’s novel with some toothsome almond delights

Every time Mrs. Fisher offered Mrs. Arbuthnot anything – her cup, or milk, or sugar – Mrs. Arbuthnot offered her macaroons, – pressed them on her with an odd assiduousness, almost with obstinacy.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Armin

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Sympathy by Olivia Sudjic review – up-to-the-minute debut

Fri, 26 May 2017 06:30:04 GMT2017-05-26T06:30:04Z

A smart story of obsession and technology investigates what smartphones are doing to our souls

This debut has been acclaimed as the “First Great Instagram Novel”, and what it does is both new and strange – and deeply familiar. From the infancy of the industrial revolution, novels have thrived on technological change, dramatising the aesthetics of machines as well as the changes (usually deformations) they make to the human soul. The pantheon of post-industrial writing is Humphrey Jennings’s Pandaemonium: The Coming of the Machine 1660-1886, and if there were to be a sequel for our digital age, Sympathy would earn a place in it for its exquisite, sustained observation of our use of smartphones. When the narrator, Alice Hare, takes possession of her loved one’s device, she says: “It felt kind of like holding her brain, and I held it like that, my palm flat, my right index finger light and quick, as if the phone were jellied or slimy.”

Full of these casually creepy, very 21st-century observations, Sympathy is an astute, quirky, slow-burning satire on emerging codes of behaviour, intergenerational differences, globalisation, the tech industry and the vortex of the dark web. Alice tumbles through an online rabbit hole of absurdities and dream-like connections that ultimately leads into a nightmarish mise en abyme and an illegal, orgiastic rave – rather a long way from Lewis Carroll.

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Tony Walsh’s poem found words where there are no words | Jeanette Winterson

Thu, 25 May 2017 15:19:12 GMT2017-05-25T15:19:12Z

The poet’s appearance at the vigil for the Manchester bombing victims helped us face up to the tragedy

Tony Walsh’s poem, “This Is The Place”, rapped out by him in fierce lines at Tuesday’s vigil in Manchester, did what public poetry should do – found words where there are no words. We say, “I don’t know what to say.” We say we’re lost for words. Words have lost us. The poem gives us back the words we need.

The bombing was a public event, as well as a heartbreaking series of private losses. At times like this we need to come together to express our collective despair and bewilderment: Manchester as a city; Manchester as proud northerners; Manchester facing the world, but facing the world in tears.

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'I have an aversion to failure': Sally Rooney feels the buzz of her debut novel

Wed, 24 May 2017 17:52:00 GMT2017-05-24T17:52:00Z

She has been called the ‘Salinger for the Snapchat generation’. Sally Rooney explains how she wrote Conversations With Friends in a flat-out creative frenzy, and how being a former debating champion helped with the dialogue

To listen to Sally Rooney, you would guess she has always been a great talker. As an undergraduate at Trinity College Dublin, she became Europe’s No 1 student debater. Now she has written her debut novel – Conversations With Friends – which motors along thanks to its brilliant, funny and startling dialogue, most of which is played out between two college students (ex-girlfriends, now best friends) and an older married couple.

One of the students – Frances, the narrator – specialises in barbed retorts and has an affair with the husband. “You’re really handsome, you know,” she tells him. “Is that all I get?” he says. “I thought you liked my personality.” “Do you have one?” she asks. None of Rooney’s characters is ever lost for words, though quite often they find the wrong ones. Their exchanges revolve around what they withhold as much as what they share.

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The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers review – murder on the moors

Thu, 25 May 2017 11:00:27 GMT2017-05-25T11:00:27Z

The desperate rise and fall of a Yorkshire coining gang in the 1760s are made over into myth

Benjamin Myers’s new novel is about the Yorkshire poor in the 18th century, a time when the theft of a handkerchief or a loaf of bread could lead to the gallows. Small wonder, then, that smuggling and coining – the manufacture of fake money from melted-down clippings – was rife, and that the gangs were protected by local populations.

Today the Cragg Vale Coiners and their chief, David Hartley, who ran a successful coining business and protection racket from his moorland home in the 1760s, are commemorated in a Calderdale museum. Myers’s retelling of their desperate rise and fall is interspersed with the fictional prison journal of “the greyt King Dayvid Hartee A farther a husban a leeder a forger a moorman of the hills and a pote [poet] of werds and deeds”.

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Hisham Matar: ‘If I wake up at an early hour and write 500 words each day I will, in time, have a book’

Thu, 25 May 2017 13:41:48 GMT2017-05-25T13:41:48Z

The winner of the 2017 Folio prize on how he learnt to stop either congratulating or beating himself up at the end of each working day

There are two voices: the first says write; the second hardly speaks, but I know what he wants. And if I let him, nothing would get done. He hovers at the edges. He is nowhere as strong as he once was.

The myth is you do the ordinary every day and the extraordinary will happen; if I wake up at an early hour and write 500 words each day I will, in time, have a book. Not all myths are untrue, of course, yet some of my best writing happens on the bus or while walking, and I must stand to one side, writing quickly, trying to catch the line of words that had just passed through my head like a butterfly. Some are phantoms; others are valuable sketches that can become the basis for entire paragraphs. I have learnt to take them seriously.

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Dolce Vita Confidential by Shawn Levy review – swinging Rome in the 1950s

Thu, 25 May 2017 08:00:23 GMT2017-05-25T08:00:23Z

The post-Mussolini capital of Italy was a glamorous ‘Hollywood on the Tiber’, even if Fellini’s famous film is now misunderstood

Her mane of wet peroxide hair is flung back and she is almost busting out of her strapless black gown as she wades recklessly through the fountain. Anita Ekberg in the Trevi fountain scene in Federico Fellini’s 1960 film La Dolce Vita has become an instant visual shorthand for a brief era – 1948 to 1960, give or take – when Italy in general and Rome in particular seemed like the most photogenic place in the world.

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The Gastronomical Me by MFK Fisher review – a food writing classic

Thu, 25 May 2017 06:30:21 GMT2017-05-25T06:30:21Z

Fisher exposed the private appetites most of us struggle to hide. Her celebrated book from 1943 has been reissued and reads very differently now

WH Auden’s famous observation on the writer MFK Fisher – “I do not know of anyone in the States who writes better prose” – has been pressed into service on the cover of this reprint of Fisher’s most beloved book The Gastronomical Me (1943). The power of the puff lies in the fact that Auden wasn’t praising another poet or even a novelist but a food writer, a species conceived at that time as a domestic science teacher with a fail-safe recipe for meatloaf. Implicit in Auden’s praise was the suggestion that Fisher should be removed from this category and set alongside Hemingway or Faulkner as a literary practitioner in her own right. These days we would get around the whole vexed business by saying that Fisher’s hybrid of culinary and memoir writing falls into the category of the personal essay, the kind of thing that has launched a thousand blogs and become a staple of the New Yorker’s annual food issue.

Related: Rereading: Great food writers

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Folio prize goes to Hisham Matar's memoir The Return

Wed, 24 May 2017 18:45:07 GMT2017-05-24T18:45:07Z

Acclaimed account of the author’s journey home to Libya in search of his missing father’s story is the first nonfiction book to win the £20,000 prize

A month after it secured him a Pulitzer prize, Hisham Matar’s memoir The Return has won the Rathbones Folio prize.

The Return tells the story of Matar’s journey to his native Libya in search of his missing father, Jaballa, following the fall of Muammar Gadafi’s regime. A businessman and opponent of the dictator, Jaballa was kidnapped in 1990 by security forces. Though never seen by his family again, it was known that he had been taken to the notorious Abu Salim prison in Tripoli, where 1,270 prisoners were murdered in 1996. Critical acclaim has followed the memoir, which won the Pulitzer biography prize and was also shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford prize for nonfiction and the Costa biography award.

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Unseen Sylvia Plath poems deciphered in carbon paper

Wed, 24 May 2017 17:00:05 GMT2017-05-24T17:00:05Z

Duplicating sheet in old notebook examined by academics yields two unknown works, To a Refractory Santa Claus and Megrims

A carbon paper hidden in the back of an old notebook owned by Sylvia Plath has revealed two previously unknown poems by The Bell Jar author. The paper, which was discovered by scholars working on a new book, has lain undiscovered for 50 years and offers a tantalising glimpse of how the poet worked with her then husband, fellow poet Ted Hughes.

The academics, Gail Crowther and Peter K Steinberg, have also found a clutch of poems abandoned by Hughes that reveal the depth of his turmoil over his wife’s death. The poems had been written for his final collection, Birthday Letters, in which he broke his silence about his tumultuous relationship with Plath, which ended after she discovered he was having an affair.

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Between Them: Remembering My Parents by Richard Ford – review

Wed, 24 May 2017 13:00:19 GMT2017-05-24T13:00:19Z

The novelist makes no grand claims for this memoir, and it is his unembarrassed love for his mother and father that comes through

What ultimately came between Richard Ford’s parents occurred on 20 February 1960, when his father suffered a heart attack. He’d had one 12 years previously but recovered, eased up, seemed (though overweight) relatively well – until Richard heard his mother call out early that morning and came through in pyjamas to find his father gasping for air. He shook him by the shoulders then tried artificial respiration, something he’d heard about but never practised. It didn’t work.

His father (Parker) was only 55, his mother (Edna) 50, Richard himself (an only child) 16. A lesser writer would milk the trauma. But Ford studiously avoids the word. Unjust though it was, his father’s early death “surrendered back to me nearly as much as it took away”, freeing him to live by his own decisions and designs. Even for Edna, who never married again, there was consolation of a kind in the jobs she was forced into, the last of which, at a hospital, she greatly enjoyed. Ford takes his cue from her stoicism. “The chore for the memoir writer is to compose a shape and economy that give faithful, reliable, if sometimes drastic coherence to the many unequal things any life contains,” he says. What his parents had between them, rather than what came between them, is the thing he wants to understand.

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Neil Gaiman hopes to raise $1m for refugees with Dr Seuss reading

Wed, 24 May 2017 11:14:17 GMT2017-05-24T11:14:17Z

The American Gods author and UNHCR goodwill ambassador says he will give a dramatic recital of Fox in Socks if enough money is pledged

Neil Gaiman, bestselling author of American Gods and Neverwhere, has offered to stage a dramatic reading of Dr Seuss’s Fox in Socks, if fans pledge $1m (£769,000) to help refugees. The British author made the offer after accepting a previous challenge to read out the menu of a US dessert chain in exchange for $500,000-worth of pledges to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The challenge to read the Cheesecake Factory menu was set on Friday by US comedian and author Sara Benincasa after what she described as an “inspiration blackout” following a date at the chain, and watching the new TV adaptation of American Gods.

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Top 10 unlikely romantic heroes in fiction

Wed, 24 May 2017 09:12:38 GMT2017-05-24T09:12:38Z

From the disgusting appeal of Christian Grey to the neglected charms of Shakespeare’s Don Pedro, Jenny Colgan picks her favourite difficult dreamboats

In my other job as a romantic comedy writer, I like to write attractive heroes, for obvious reasons. But when I write sci-fi (as Jenny T Colgan), the type of chap is very different. Sometimes – when I’m writing for Doctor Who, for instance – there isn’t really a romantic hero at all (or there shouldn’t be, unless you’re still mooning over those old David Tennant episodes).

When I started writing Spandex in the City, I was interested in people who date superheroes. It’s meant to be something you would automatically want to do – look at Batman and the gorgeous Vicki Vale; Spidey and Mary Jane, Supes and Lois. But actually, going out with a superhero would be awful. They work nights, they’re hyper-intense, constantly distracted – oh, and you might get killed. Only Iron Man’s Pepper Potts seems to get the point that it’s a terrible pain in the neck. So for this book I was working within slightly more difficult parameters than, say, a nice country vet called Will.

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How Trump Thinks review – why Trump and Twitter are a perfect couple

Wed, 24 May 2017 08:00:31 GMT2017-05-24T08:00:31Z

Peter Oborne and Tom Roberts’s catalogue of the tycoon’s Tweets suggests it was satisfying for many voters to see a rich celebrity complain and accuse

In the midst of the recent maelstrom surrounding the firing of FBI director James Comey, Donald Trump found time to get on Twitter and troll one of his long-time foes, comedian Rosie O’Donnell. Retweeting a 2016 post of hers that called for Comey to be fired, Trump declared: “We finally agree on something Rosie.” One had to imagine that little Trump did during that week gave him such a sense of mastery and control.

Peter Oborne and Tom Roberts have anthologised and annotated Trump’s tweets, starting with his very first, in May 2009, and extending to March of this year, when the book went to press. Trump now occupies what arguably is – or was – the most important political position in the west. And yet his public contradictions and inchoate statements have made it hard to know what is really going on in his head. All his books have been ghostwritten. Twitter is one of the few places we can look for evidence of Trump’s own voice.

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Have a lover, have friends, read books. Montaigne was right about one thing | Germaine Leece

Wed, 24 May 2017 04:01:53 GMT2017-05-24T04:01:53Z

We think we are escaping ourselves when we read literature, but we might be going deeper into our interior worlds through the therapy of reading

The understanding that literature can comfort, console and heal has been around since the second millennium BC; it is no coincidence that Apollo was the god of medicine as well as poetry.

As a bibliotherapist, I’m interested in the therapeutic value stories have to offer us, particularly during times of stress. Here the intent around reading is different; the value of the story lies solely in our emotional response to it.

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The Fall of the House of Fifa by David Conn review – a long tale of corruption and seediness

Wed, 24 May 2017 06:30:29 GMT2017-05-24T06:30:29Z

A Guardian journalist’s study of Sepp Blatter and other football officials is full of startling material and has cumulative power

From 1996 to 2013, one of the members of the executive committee of Fifa, the body that runs world football, was an American businessman and former manufacturer of smiley-face badges called Chuck Blazer. For most of that time, Blazer was also general secretary of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf), one of the half dozen international federations that Fifa helps fund. At Blazer’s instigation, Concacaf rented offices and apartments in Trump Tower in Manhattan. One of the apartments was for the sole use of Blazer’s cats. They “peed all over the floor”, Guardian journalist David Conn records, “and made the place stink”.

When it comes to the moral shortcomings of modern football, writers are not exactly short of metaphors. The challenge is more the opposite: how to make people who love the game despite everything want to read another catalogue of its off-pitch horrors. Since 2010, Conn writes, “seven members of that 22-man Fifa executive committee have been charged or accused by the US authorities of criminal wrongdoing; another, Franz Beckenbauer, is under criminal investigation in Switzerland and Germany over … Germany’s 2006 World Cup bid [he maintains his innocence]. Six more members, including [Sepp] Blatter and [Michel] Platini, have been sanctioned by Fifa’s own ethics committee.” For many years now, Fifa has been associated with corruption, bribery, cronyism and seedily close relationships with corporations, dictatorships and repressive governments – and all the while football has carried on expanding regardless, becoming not just the world’s favourite sport but arguably its dominant mass culture. What difference will another anti-Fifa book make?

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Islands and literature, from Iceland to Jamaica - books podcast

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:00:04 GMT2017-05-23T13:00:04Z

As the Brexit boat prepares to set sail, writers from islands around the world explain what it means to be from a small place surrounded by sea

In this week’s podcast we listen in to some of the writers from around the world who gathered in the Faroe Islands, in the north Atlantic, in May for a conference on the island in literature. Iceland’s Sjón – a novelist and a lyricist for his compatriot Björk – explains why it has been a longstanding dream to convene an island summit.

Greenlandic novelist Niviaq Korneliussen and Shetland poet Robert Alan Jamieson demonstrate what it means to fight for your language. Newfoundlander Donna Morrissey explains why she has made it her mission to chronicle a way of life destroyed by industrial fishing, while Tasmanian Pete Hay talks of the guilt of the colonising islander and Jamaican poet and academic Paulette Ramsey explores the many cultures of the Caribbean. We hear a vintage reading from Derek Walcott and a new theory from Faroese academic Bergur Rønne Moberg – the literature of the “ultra-minor”.

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Gabriel García Márquez webchat with biographer Gerald Martin – post your questions now

Tue, 23 May 2017 14:26:03 GMT2017-05-23T14:26:03Z

On Friday 26 May at 1pm BST, the acclaimed writer – to whom Gabo himself referred inquiries about his life – will be joining us to share his expertise

On Friday 26 May at 1pm BST, Gerald Martin, the author of Gabriel García Márquez: A Life will be joining us for a live webchat.

Martin spent 17 years writing his biography and knew García Márquez well. Indeed, the latter once told a Barcelona newspaper that he couldn’t answer a question about his past due to his failing memory, but that they should “ask my official biographer, Gerald Martin, about that sort of thing”. The 545-page published work was whittled down from more than 2,000 pages (with extra footnotes) and exhaustive research. Unsurprisingly then, the Observer described this first full biography of the author to be published in English as “a landmark”.

“Could any biographer have been better suited to this gargantuan undertaking? Absolutely not: Martin is the ideal man for the job. He has already written studies of 20th-century Latin American fiction; translated the work of another Latin American Nobel laureate, Miguel Ángel Asturias; and written about Latin American history. These are essential prerequisites for unraveling the labyrinthine cultural and political aspects of García Márquez’s peripatetic life. So are Martin’s demonstrable patience, wide range of knowledge and keen understanding of his subject’s worldwide literary forebears, from Cervantes to Dostoevsky to Mark Twain.”

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How to master the art of change in a world in flux

Tue, 23 May 2017 11:45:02 GMT2017-05-23T11:45:02Z

For her book Metamorphosis, Polly Morland interviewed everyone from a man who lost 18 stone to a monk who fell in love. Then Trump and Brexit happened …

The biggest change in my adult life, parenthood notwithstanding, is one I made eight years ago. With little idea of what I was getting into, I made a transition from 15 years in documentary television to writing books. This was a strange new life: the long desk hours, the obsessive searching for le mot juste, the fetching work uniform of pyjama bottoms, old T-shirt and hair grips, a routine occasionally interrupted with scrubbed-up forays to book festivals or conferences to evangelise about the fruits of those hours and pitiful standards of grooming.

Just one thread runs from my old life to the new and it’s one that not only keeps me sane, but also drives my writing. You’d be forgiven for thinking I’d traded a gregarious line of business for a solitary one, but the fact is that my work is still built upon conversations. That’s what I do: I talk to people, ordinary and extraordinary, collecting and curating their stories and finding in them real wisdom as to how and why we live as we do. It’s philosophy of a sort, but out of the ivory tower and on the mean streets of everyday life. It’s led me to write books about what it means to be brave, about how to live well alongside risk and most recently about our human appetite – and capacity - for change.

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Green Carnation award goes to Aids history How to Survive a Plague

Tue, 23 May 2017 10:33:56 GMT2017-05-23T10:33:56Z

David France’s study of the struggle for effective treatment of a disease that was initially widely ignored was described by judges as ‘vital and important’

An insider account of the HIV/Aids epidemic hailed by Edmund White as “epoch-making” has scooped a major prize for LGBTQ+ writing. David France’s How to Survive a Plague tells the story of how a grassroots movement of activists, some of whom faced their own struggle with the illness, forced through legal and scientific change that turned HIV from an almost certain death sentence to a manageable disease where drugs are available.

It is the third time in the prize’s seven-year history that the award has gone to a nonfiction book. Describing France’s book as the unanimous choice, chair of judges John Boyne said: “In this time of renewed activism in an increasingly uncertain world, France’s definitive account of the Aids crisis, and the activists who changed the fate of so many lives, seems vital and important to inspire everyone, not just the LGBTQ+ community.”

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In the Absence of Absalon by Simon Okotie review – delighting in digression

Tue, 23 May 2017 08:30:47 GMT2017-05-23T08:30:47Z

This superb sequel gives us the detective story as existential crisis

In 2012, Simon Okotie published an extraordinary novel, Whatever Happened to Harold Absalon?, in which a detective known only by his surname of Marguerite goes looking for the wife of a man named Harold Absalon. I use the words “goes looking for” in a surprisingly loose sense, as during the entire book all Marguerite manages to do is go up and down in an elevator, and down the steps of a Routemaster bus. Anyone looking for a conventional detective story would have been wildly disappointed, for the novel is a series of digressions on absolutely everything except, it seems, the business he is charged with.

And now there is a sequel. Marguerite is no longer on the case. His successor is unnamed, and this time the action takes place in front of Absalon’s house. Absalon, who has been given the vague title of “the Mayor’s transport adviser”, remains as elusive as ever. As he will continue to be, one suspects, when the detective charged with finding him, or his wife, or both, dithers at the front door of his house like this: “As he traversed the short distance that separated him from the gate leading to the area in front of the townhouse as a precursor, he hoped, to opening it and moving towards the building proper, he realised that part of the reason for his reticence in describing the architectural and other pertinent details of the townhouse before him related to a hitherto unarticulated pressure to do so ...” And I have given you only half of the sentence.

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The Adventures of John Blake by Philip Pullman review – wonderfully nostalgic

Tue, 23 May 2017 06:30:45 GMT2017-05-23T06:30:45Z

Beautifully illustrated by Fred Fordham, Pullman’s latest book is a daring mix of Tintin, Treasure Island, time travel and social media

This column doesn’t usually include comics that were written mostly with children or teenagers in mind (I must set strict parameters, given that I get to choose only 12 books a year). But I’m making an exception for The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship, first because its author is Philip Pullman, Carnegie medal winner and bestselling author of His Dark Materials, and second – by far the more important reason – because it’s fantastic.

Beautifully drawn by Fred Fordham, The Adventures of John Blake first appeared in The Phoenix, the weekly comic published by David Fickling Books (aimed at 6- to 12-year-olds, its 300th edition will appear in September). Thanks to Fordham’s artwork, as well as the fact, perhaps, that Pullman grew up on the adventures of Dan Dare, it has (for adult readers, at least) a wonderfully nostalgic feel: Fordham’s ligne claire style combined with the sheer pull of the story took me straight back to my Bunty-reading days. However, it’s whizzy and modern, too. Put aside for a moment the fact that its plot turns on time travel: its 21st century characters are utterly in thrall to their “apparators”, all-powerful mobile phone-like devices, the battery of which never runs out. It’s an addiction that is more dangerous than they know. The company that makes them is owned by Carlos Dahlberg, the richest man in the world, and one who will stop at nothing in his quest for global domination.

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Online top ranking: what does Amazon Charts mean for the book industry?

Mon, 22 May 2017 17:41:30 GMT2017-05-22T17:41:30Z

Amazon’s new rating system for the book market is seeking to challenge the decades-long dominance of the New York Times bestseller status

For nine decades, the New York Times bestseller lists have been the industry gold standard when it comes to obtaining a seal of approval that will make readers sit up and pay attention. But like most things in the book industry, it’s something Amazon has in its sights.

Last week the online retailer launched Amazon Charts, which complements the site’s usual hourly updates of bestselling books. The new list combines what’s being ordered from them with data obtained from Kindle and Audible users to find out what books are actually being read and listened to.

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Daddy Long Legs by Nadine Brun-Cosme and Aurélie Guillerey review – chicest picture book of the year

Tue, 23 May 2017 08:00:47 GMT2017-05-23T08:00:47Z

Full of quirky detail, this father and son jaunt is satisfyingly silly

A tall tale of fatherly devotion with a dash of Edward Gorey and a lot of mid-century modern style, Daddy Long Legs is surely a frontrunner for the year’s chicest picture book. Created by two established French talents, author Nadine Brun-Cosme and illustrator Aurélie Guillerey, it’s a story told in glorious Technicolor about a dad with an unreliable car and his anxious son wanting reassurance that he’ll be collected from nursery.

From the opening page, it’s clear we’re in for a quirky ride: Matty’s dad, a lanky chap with dots for eyes, a pink carrot nose and a drainpipe suit, leans, puzzled, over his old green “hiccuping” car. The pair eventually make it to nursery, but “what if the car doesn’t start again?” worries Matty. There’s always the neighbour’s big red tractor, says Dad, beginning to list increasingly absurd ways he could employ to pick up his son. What if the tractor’s tired? Well, says Dad, a man whose patience seems as never-ending as his limbs, he could catch a ride with Matty’s old ted, some rabbits or even a dragon. And if all else fails – we see Dad hurdling hills and trees – “my legs will never be too tired to come and get you”.

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Lucy Worsley webchat – your questions answered on Jane Austen, chastity belts and Arsène Wenger

Mon, 22 May 2017 13:08:24 GMT2017-05-22T13:08:24Z

The television historian answered your questions about presenting from a bathtub, her posh accent and dancing with Len Goodman

Thanks for the questions. And I see some of you have already read my book Jane Austen At Home. You are people with taste and intelligence, and I salute you. The rest of you, you know what to do.

Watch out for our BBC2 documentary on Saturday night - Jane Austen: Behind Closed Doors at 9pm. I've heard there is some football on, but you don't want to watch that.

badflower asks:

Given Hampton Court’s reputation for restless spirits, have you ever had a paranormal experience there – or anywhere else?

I have given people paranormal experiences at Hampton Court. Our curators office has a back door that opens on to a room called "the Haunted Gallery". Sometimes when we pop out, it freaks people out. I have not seen a ghost because *whispers* I'm sorry to tell you ghosts don't exist. I'm much more afraid of serial killers.

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Poem of the week: Wedding by Alice Oswald

Mon, 22 May 2017 11:24:43 GMT2017-05-22T11:24:43Z

Skilfully moving through changing similes, this outstanding modern sonnet pays tribute to the balancing act of love

Wedding

From time to time our love is like a sail
and when the sail begins to alternate
from tack to tack, it’s like a swallowtail
and when the swallow flies it’s like a coat;
and if the coat is yours, it has a tear
like a wide mouth and when the mouth begins
to draw the wind, it’s like a trumpeter
and when the trumpet blows, it blows like millions …
and this, my love, when millions come and go
beyond the need of us, is like a trick;
and when the trick begins, it’s like a toe
tip-toeing on a rope, which is like luck;
and when the luck begins, it’s like a wedding,
which is like love, which is like everything.

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Philip Pullman offers first look at His Dark Materials follow-up The Book of Dust

Fri, 26 May 2017 06:00:04 GMT2017-05-26T06:00:04Z

Author is returning to his enchanted Oxford for more fantasy adventures involving his heroine Lyra and a boy called Malcolm

Exclusive extract: Read how Lyra’s story began

An 11-year-old boy called Malcolm Polstead – who lives in an inn on the banks of the river Thames in Oxford – will be at the centre of the first volume of Philip Pullman’s hotly anticipated new trilogy. The Book of Dust will be a companion trilogy to his global bestselling series His Dark Materials. Details of the first instalment, La Belle Sauvage, were revealed on Friday by Pullman’s publishers Penguin Random House Children’s and David Fickling Books.

An exclusive extract from the long-awaited novel has been published on the Guardian’s website, and will be printed in Saturday’s paper. Taken from chapter 10 of the new novel, available worldwide from 19 October, the extract finds one of the central characters from His Dark Materials, Lord Asriel, attempting to persuade Malcolm to let him see his infant daughter Lyra. The latter is being sheltered from the nobleman by nuns at Godstow Priory, near Oxford, after Asriel was convicted of murder.

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Anthony Horowitz: I was warned off including black character

Sun, 21 May 2017 08:25:26 GMT2017-05-21T08:25:26Z

Author of Alex Rider novels was disturbed to be advised against creating a black character because he was white

Bestselling author Anthony Horowitz has said he was warned off including a black character in his new book after being told by an editor it would be inappropriate.

Horowitz, best known for his Alex Rider series of novels, said he found it “disturbing” that he was being advised against a white writer creating a black character.

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Historical fiction and ‘alternative facts’ … Mantel reveals all about retelling our past

Sat, 20 May 2017 23:05:39 GMT2017-05-20T23:05:39Z

The Wolf Hall author discusses the line between truth and fantasy

Hilary Mantel’s gripping account of life in the court of Henry VIII has transformed the art of historical fiction, combining exhaustive research with imagination to produce a vivid portrayal of the tyrannical king, his wives and courtiers that has won her two Man Booker prizes and inspired an award-winning television adaptation.

Now she is turning the skills she has developed in her writing to examine a much more modern theme – how fact and fiction can become confused to produce “alternative facts”.

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The true crime tale that merges murder and memoir – set to be summer’s ‘must-read’

Sat, 20 May 2017 20:47:24 GMT2017-05-20T20:47:24Z

Author of The Fact of a Body explains why case challenged her beliefs on the death penalty

From addictive podcasts such as S Town and Untold to must-watch TV from Making a Murderer to The Keepers, true crime is having something of a moment. Now a book that melds memoir and murder to tell a haunting story of abuse, deep-buried secrets and the power of mercy, has become the talk of the publishing industry and is set to be one of the hits of the summer.

The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich weaves together two distinct histories: that of Ricky Langley, a paedophile who was convicted of the murder in 1992 of six-year-old Jeremy Guillory, and Marzano-Lesnevich’s abuse by her late maternal grandfather. Early reviews hail it as “a true crime masterpiece” and compare it to Truman Capote’s seminal In Cold Blood. It was, says Marzano-Lesnevich, a book that she had to write.

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Study of 'sexual paranoia' on US campuses draws lawsuit from student

Thu, 18 May 2017 16:42:18 GMT2017-05-18T16:42:18Z

Laura Kipnis is being sued by a student whose case she highlights in a new book arguing against overzealous regulation

Laura Kipnis, an academic who has spoken out against the way US universities handle sex abuse claims, is being sued by a student whose harassment case against a professor features heavily in Kipnis’s latest book. Under the name Jane Doe, the graduate student claims a chapter in Kipnis’s Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus invaded her privacy and misrepresented her case against a philosophy professor.

Texts between the student and Peter Ludlow published in the book could be used to identify her, the student claims, though Kipnis changed her name in the book. Ludlow was dismissed from Northwestern University in Illinois following two allegations of sexual harassment. In her book, Kipnis uses Ludlow’s case to argue that universities’ application of rules on sexual conduct is overzealous and undermines civil liberties.

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Bridget Jones's Baby wins Helen Fielding a pig – and the Wodehouse prize

Thu, 18 May 2017 05:00:17 GMT2017-05-18T05:00:17Z

The fourth novel about the hapless romantic heroine wins the UK’s only award for comic writing

After twice nearly winning what she described as “the Oscar for comic writing”, Helen Fielding is finally set to see a pig named Bridget Jones, after she scooped the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize for comic fiction.

Fielding said she intended to boast about winning the prize, which bags the author naming rights to a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig, “as long as possible to anyone who will listen”.

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Hay festival steps in to save library in Welsh 'town of books'

Wed, 17 May 2017 15:43:49 GMT2017-05-17T15:43:49Z

It has emerged that Hay-on-Wye library has been relying on support from the event for some time, but still faces closure without fresh funds

Hay-on-Wye literary festival has stepped in to save the famously bookish town’s library after it was threatened with closure. As news emerged of the temporary cash rescue, the festival slammed plans by the local council to close libraries, saying that if a town synonymous with books could not keep its library service open, “what hope does anywhere else have?”

The rescue package was revealed as the Welsh government announced a £2.7m boost to libraries, museums and archives aimed at modernising buildings and extending digital access to collections and archives.

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Cheap books, high price: why Amazon.com’s ‘one-click’ sales can cost authors dear

Wed, 17 May 2017 11:30:40 GMT2017-05-17T11:30:40Z

US sales on the web giant have recently begun defaulting to secondhand merchants, meaning writers receive nothing at all from purchases

It is a hard sell: the idea that cheaper books might be a bad thing. But an adjustment to how Amazon sells books on its site is being attacked by authors’ groups, which claim secondhand copies of new books sold at rock-bottom prices are selling in such high quantities from the retailer that authors are unable to earn a living.

A week ago, buyers on Amazon.com, the US site, began seeing heavily discounted secondhand copies of books sold by third-party sellers being presented as the default buying option, instead of new copies supplied to Amazon by publishers. Using that “buy-in-one-click” button for, say, George Saunders’s novel Lincoln in the Bardo, you’ll get it for a bargain $10.52 – but that’s an “as-new” copy from a secondhand seller, not a new copy sourced by Amazon.com (which will cost you $14.64).

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George RR Martin says Game of Thrones spin-offs will all be prequels – and announces a fifth

Tue, 16 May 2017 11:59:32 GMT2017-05-16T11:59:32Z

After HBO reveals plans for TV offshoots from their hit adaptation, Martin promises he is still working on sixth book The Winds of Winter

Game of Thrones creator George RR Martin has reassured fans that he will complete the sixth novel in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, despite working with screenwriters on five new TV spin-offs. But he has admitted that the TV commitments had pushed the hotly anticipated book down the agenda.

“Yes, I am still working on Winds of Winter and I will continue working on it until it’s done,” Martin wrote on his blog. But fans, who have already waited six years for the latest instalment in the fantasy series, should not hold their breath. “I will confess, I do wish I could clone myself, or find a way to squeeze more hours into the day, or a way to go without sleep. But this is what it is, so I keep juggling,” he added before listing his commitments: The Winds of Winter, five new TV shows for HBO, and four new Wild Card books.

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Hillsborough, Brexit and gun control: 2017 Orwell prize shortlist announced

Mon, 15 May 2017 19:00:01 GMT2017-05-15T19:00:01Z

With Orwell back in headlines due to the rise of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’, six books with ‘something prescient to say’ are up for best political writing prize

Six books that demonstrate how political writers have stepped up to the challenge of global change have been shortlisted for the prestigious Orwell prize for political writing. Ranging in topic from classic political biography to frontline reportage and revisionist history, all six had “something prescient to say”, the judges said.

“We are at a huge moment in the history of the Western world like the rise of China and of populism, and these are issues that everyone is grappling with. We found writers are stepping up to the challenge,” judge Jonathan Derbyshire, executive comment editor of the Financial Times, said. He added: “I feel very optimistic about the future of political writing.”

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Former mercenary Simon Mann reveals thriller he wrote in jail

Sat, 13 May 2017 23:03:00 GMT2017-05-13T23:03:00Z

He spent seven years in prison after a failed coup in Equatorial New Guinea. Now the ex-SAS officer has turned to writing

The life story of Simon Mann reads like pages torn from a thriller. Now the former mercenary and SAS officer is to publish a thriller of his own: an international action adventure written to stay sane in prison in Africa.

“I wanted to write something for my son Freddie, who was 13 at the time, and I realised he would want to read something grown-up.”

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Tips, links and suggestions: what are you reading this week?

Mon, 22 May 2017 14:00:25 GMT2017-05-22T14:00:25Z

Your space to discuss the books you are reading and what you think of them

Welcome to this week’s blog, and our roundup of your comments and photos from last week.

And, oh! Look at that beautiful baby. It makes me think there’s hope for humanity, after all.

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The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer: Twin Peaks' problematic tie-in

Fri, 19 May 2017 14:00:09 GMT2017-05-19T14:00:09Z

As the dark and twisted small-town drama returns to TV, Jennifer Lynch’s tie-in novel is being reissued as an audiobook, and it is far from easy listening

Twin Peaks graced us with many a lingering image, though none more grim and resounding than Laura Palmer’s wan and traumatised body, half unpacked from the clear plastic wrap she was dumped in, in David Lynch’s landmark TV series. While the blue-eyed homecoming queen’s dark past and subsequent murder made for the show’s central mystery, she remained mostly voiceless. Lynch renders her a silent totem, rotting beneath the cheerful surface of small-town America.

Related: Damn fine telly: why everything is now ‘a bit Twin Peaks’

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Is Marvel's fascist Captain America losing command of his fans?

Fri, 19 May 2017 09:28:24 GMT2017-05-19T09:28:24Z

The comics publisher is asking readers to bear with a storyline that has turned the all-American superhero malign. But their loyalty is wearing thin

Marvel has had a tough year. Embroiled in controversy after controversy over its current Captain America storyline, the comic book studio has been in damage control mode since last July, when it revealed that their stars-and-stripes-adorned hero was actually part of Hydra, a crypto-Nazi group.

The superhero was created by two Jewish men back in the 1940s, and made his debut by socking Hitler across the face, so readers were shocked to learn that the once proudly all-American Steve Rogers had sided with a fascistic terror group. This twist, which was masterminded by comic writer Nick Spencer, has run through various Marvel comic series, including Captain America: Steve Rogers, Captain America: Sam Wilson and the ongoing Secret Empire.

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‘War makes mortal enemies of people who’ve never met’

Fri, 19 May 2017 10:59:05 GMT2017-05-19T10:59:05Z

A novelist and former soldier explains how the mix of boredom and fear turns soldiers into storytellers

If “hurry up and wait” is the army’s unofficial motto, “storyteller” has to be one of the soldier’s many unofficial occupations. War, as they say, comes in long stretches of tedium punctuated by moments of intense terror; so, with plenty of time to kill and anxious boredom to ease, soldiers do what tense and idle people throughout the ages have always done. They talk. They tell each other stories. War stories, sure, but soldiers will shoot the breeze about anything, from the winner of a hypothetical fight between a crocodile and a gorilla, to the nuances of geopolitics, to loved ones back home. Given how war foreshortens mortality, the fear of death – and its corollary, the want of sex – are common topics of conversation even when the focus is ostensibly elsewhere. In any case, the subjunctive mood dominates. What if, what if, what if?

Related: View from Baghdad on Iraq war inquiry

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Can One Hundred Years of Solitude be read as more than just fantasy?

Tue, 16 May 2017 15:01:32 GMT2017-05-16T15:01:32Z

Gabriel García Márquez’s magical novel is packed full of political commentary on real-life events. But can we say that the misogyny and violence don’t matter because none of it is real?

“The problem,” says Salman Rushdie, “is that when people say ‘magical realism’, they only hear magic. They don’t hear realism.”

I’m tempted to give people a pass on that one. It’s natural enough to focus on the magical elements in books such as One Hundred Years of Solitude, with its floating virgins, reincarnating gypsies and soothsaying colonels all front and centre. It’s this magic that made the novel seem extraordinary when it came out in the 60s, and has kept it interesting for generations since.

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From The Da Vinci Code to Fifty Shades: the books no one wants any more

Mon, 15 May 2017 17:00:19 GMT2017-05-15T17:00:19Z

A branch of Oxfam has asked people to stop donating Dan Brown’s hit novel because it has too many copies. Which other titles are most unwanted?

A branch of Oxfam in Swansea has received a copy a week of The Da Vinci Code since its staff can remember. Lately, manager Phil Broadhurst has make a tower with the books, at the foot of which he has posted a note, now widely shared online. “You could give us another Da Vinci Code ... but we would rather have your vinyl! We urgently need more records to ... make more money for Oxfam.”

Three years ago, at the height of Fifty Shades mania, Broadhurst and staff made an impressive fort out of copies of EL James’s wooden prose. As now, they asked donors for “60s and 70s vinyl” instead.

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So you want to be a writer? Essential tips for aspiring novelists

Sat, 13 May 2017 08:00:42 GMT2017-05-13T08:00:42Z

How to write a killer opening line. Why Google is not research. When to rip it up and start again. Whatever you do, just write! Lessons from acclaimed novelist and creative writing professor Colum McCann

Nobody can advise you and help you, nobody,” said Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet more than a century ago. “There is only one way. Go into yourself.” Rilke, of course, was right – nobody but yourself can help. In the end it all comes down to the strike of the word on the page, not to mention the strike thereafter, and the strike after that. But Rilke was taken by the request from a young writer, and he corresponded with Franz Xaver Kappus in 10 letters over the course of six years. Rilke’s was advice on matters of religion, love, feminism, sex, art, solitude and patience, but it was also keyed into the life of the poet and how these things might shape the words upon the page.

“This most of all,” he says. “Ask yourself in the most silent hour of night: must I write?”

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Are things getting worse for women in publishing?

Thu, 11 May 2017 10:47:29 GMT2017-05-11T10:47:29Z

Voices from within an industry overwhelmingly staffed by women speak out about senior management that appears increasingly dominated by men

When Edie and Eddie started work as junior editors in the same corporate book publisher, they had much in common: firsts from Oxbridge and career ambition. And a passion for books and ideas. When Edie saw her role model moved out of the chief executive’s office to be replaced by a man, the two joked about what it took to get to the top.

But as both observed the same thing happen at one publishing house after another, the joke wore thin. And Eddie, frustrated at the lack of promotion, changed. “He donned a suit and began to walk and talk like the men he saw getting on in the business and suddenly things changed for him,” Edie recalls. “It was as simple as that.”

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Let's just say it: George RR Martin needs to get on with The Winds of Winter

Fri, 12 May 2017 12:35:53 GMT2017-05-12T12:35:53Z

The Game of Thrones author is working on four HBO spin-offs. All very well, but don’t loyal readers deserve to see how the original story ends?

George RR Martin is, as Neil Gaiman famously once opined, not your bitch.

It is eight years to the day since Gaiman wrote this to a fan on his website who had asked whether it was fair to feel that Martin was “letting him down” by taking so long to publish the later volumes in his A Song of Ice and Fire series. That was in 2009, meaning that that fan had another two long years ahead before he’d get his hands on the fifth book, A Dance With Dragons. If that chap was feeling let down then his disappointment must be through the roof now, six years later, still waiting for the next book, The Winds of Winter.

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Ten alternative facts for the post truth world

Fri, 12 May 2017 07:00:12 GMT2017-05-12T07:00:12Z

From Nineteen Eighty-Four and Malcolm Tucker to Vote Leave and Donald Trump – playing fast and loose with the truth has moved from fiction to real life

A word on definition: “post truth” is emphatically not the same as lies, spin and falsehood. What is new is not mendacity but the public’s response to it – the growing primacy of emotional resonance over fact and evidence, the replacement of verification with social media algorithms that tell us what we want to hear. Truth is losing its value as society’s reserve currency, and legitimate scepticism is yielding place to pernicious relativism.

Here, as a primer, are 10 classic examples of post truth, past and present.

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Bond and Smiley should be retired: it's time for working-class spy fiction

Thu, 11 May 2017 09:00:45 GMT2017-05-11T09:00:45Z

Since the genre’s inception, its heroes have usually been privileged types. Less well-connected heroes would make better novels and wouldn’t go amiss in real life

From the moment Erskine Childers created the British spy novel, in 1903’s The Riddle of the Sands, spying in fiction has been almost the sole preserve of the upper and middle classes. That novel’s hero, Carruthers, is a Foreign Office man who goes off to investigate German naval operations, in his spare time, for a bit of a jolly. And the pattern continues.

Richard Hannay in John Buchan’s 1915 The Thirty-Nine Steps is sitting on a comfy mining fortune before getting caught up in the dastardly plans of the Germans. Eric Ambler’s protagonist in 1939’s The Mask of Dimitrios, Charles Latimer, is a novelist – hardly working-class hero material. W Somerset Maugham’s suave Ashenden (1928) is a playwright who swans about hotels in Switzerland, picking up gossip while millions die on the western front. None of these gentleman heroes needed to be spies.

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Clinton and Patterson or Burroughs and Austen? Who'd be the best writing duo?

Tue, 09 May 2017 09:44:26 GMT2017-05-09T09:44:26Z

Bill Clinton and James Patterson are collaborating, but who do we really want to team up? Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman? What if Emma’s author cut up with Mr Naked Lunch?

Book publishing is a gossip factory, and by the end of last week we had an idea that a Big Book Announcement was coming. Not only that, but that two “headline names” would be collaborating on a novel. Who exactly the Big Names were was being kept a tight secret, but that only encourages speculation. We rifled through the world of entertainment: Mick Jagger and Martin Amis? George Clooney and David Sedaris? Kate Moss and Bret Easton Ellis?

Related: Bill Clinton teams with James Patterson to write White House thriller

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When tweeters attack: why do readers send authors their bad reviews?

Mon, 22 May 2017 08:56:34 GMT2017-05-22T08:56:34Z

Social media have made it easy to let novelists know directly when their work has disappointed – but why do so many people want to do so?

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. It’s a simple enough rule that most of us learned as young children. So why is it that some readers seem incapable of holding back from telling an author that they didn’t like their book?

It is a lesson one reader might have heeded before addressing the writer Nina Stibbe with some feedback on her 2013 novel Love, Nina: “My #bookgroup really not loving #lovenina. Voted it 1.3 (out of 10). Our lowest EVER score in 5 years and 60 books. Sorry @ninastibbe.”

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Tips, links and suggestions: what are you reading this week?

Mon, 15 May 2017 14:00:00 GMT2017-05-15T14:00:00Z

Your space to discuss the books you are reading and what you think of them

Welcome to this week’s blog, and our roundup of your comments and photos from last week.

Unsurprisingly, politics has been playing on our minds. Kate Baxter has been investigating The Nixon Defence by by John Dean. For obvious reasons:

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Poem of the week: Sin Visits Me by Malika Booker

Mon, 15 May 2017 09:08:07 GMT2017-05-15T09:08:07Z

Ghost story and erotic dream swim together in this joyous, defiant assertion of free spirit

Sin Visits Me

They say a dead woman can’t run from her coffin.
How moonshine can orchestrate nuff wild thoughts!
It’s an hour past midnight and the road outside is quiet;
my thoughts are a twisting screwdriver; licks
of a dozen switches scorch my skin. Pomegranate flowers
line the road, each spread out from the other,
and their crumpled petals are the shocking red of death.
I am in the centre of this wreath. You chew chillies raw,
laugh, and spit the seeds, then tell me of the joys
of sitting on a big stone under Concord waterfall,
watching near-naked boys leap off the moss-green cliffs above.
Your voice is smooth liquor. Your whirring hands speak
another language. I hold a white china cup in my hand;
funny how the cracks don’t seem to show.
You in your saucy lace that binds your body like mace
covers nutmeg seeds; I am shocked by your vulgarity.
I tell you, crapaud don’t have no right in salt water.
You tell me you have a right to be everywhere.

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Emmanuel Macron – which literary toyboy does he most resemble?

Sun, 14 May 2017 09:59:13 GMT2017-05-14T09:59:13Z

Commentators can’t resist seeing the new French president as a hero from a 19th-century novel. So is he a Julien, a Georges or a Frédéric?

When he’s inaugurated as the youngest-ever French president, Emmanuel Macron will complete a swift advance from student to national supremo – a 13-year journey all the more remarkable for being his Plan B, a response to unexpectedly failing a key exam. Plan A, as a teenager in Amiens and when he first arrived in Paris to study, was to become France’s next great novelist. According to Macron, at 16 he was convinced being a writer was his “only vocation”, and as a young bookworm he wrote three novels – “an epistolary novel about the Aztecs, a love story and one about a pianist that plays with time”, as well as poetry. (He also planned to pen a “big picaresque novel”, though whether he finished that is unclear.)

Equally auspicious for achieving this aim was the now quasi-mythical first encounter with his future wife Brigitte, a French and drama teacher at his school, then 39 to his 15. They met when Macron played the lead in a production of Milan Kundera’s Jacques and His Master. His still-platonic romance with the married Brigitte advanced further through private meetings with the ostensible purpose of adapting a play by Eduardo di Filippo. She “shared and encouraged” the adolescent prodigy’s literary ambitions, he has said.

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The Lizzie Borden murder industry won't die – but its feminism has

Thu, 11 May 2017 16:00:01 GMT2017-05-11T16:00:01Z

Not long ago, fiction took a thoughtful line on the perennially compelling true crime tale. But zombies and other kitsch are taking over the franchise

The Borden house really is, as Angela Carter put it, “as narrow as a coffin”. When a vistor walks around the building, which sits on Second St in the sleepy town of Fall River, Massachusetts, its macabre reputation still hangs over it, despite it being a bed and breakfast now. For a fee of a little more than $200 (£154) a night, curious tourists can spend a night in the very rooms where, 125 years ago on a steamy August morning, Lizzie Borden reportedly hacked her father and stepmother to death.

But for those who wish to forego the literary pilgrimage and sate their curiosity with a book, a hefty canon of Bordenalia awaits. Her story has remained alive in the American literary imagination ever since; 50 years ago, one could find numerous novels, short stories, at least two plays, a ballet and an opera, and for those who like their murder stories to come with electric guitars there was also a rock musical. The tradition has continued, and in 1985 added Carter’s story, in her collection Black Venus. A single woman’s misery – or maybe treachery – has been the muse of many.

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Patty Yumi Cottrell: 'I'm not trying to hide anything – the novel is not a memoir'

Thu, 18 May 2017 13:02:20 GMT2017-05-18T13:02:20Z

Sorry to Disrupt the Peace is grounded in traumatic experience, but its author is keen to stress that the facts were not what made the story urgent for her

Patty Yumi Cottrell is finding this interview difficult. She’s umming and erring along her fractured train of thought, stumbling from one “you know” to the next. We’re talking about her first novel, Sorry to Disrupt the Peace, a debut that she says overlaps with her own life in ways she finds very emotional, and we’re struggling with a slight delay on the line between London and Los Angeles.

“In the US, I’ve done a few interviews and I haven’t really talked about it because I was trying to protect my family, you know. And, um … ” she sighs. “I guess if people want to do research or something, they could find out whatever they want to find out … I’m not trying to hide anything, I’m not going to lie to people, but the novel is not a memoir. I don’t want people to read it as a thinly veiled memoir, so that’s why I’ve been trying to discuss the book on its own terms without slippage between the book and my life.”

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The 100 best nonfiction books: No 68 – Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass (1845)

Mon, 22 May 2017 04:45:14 GMT2017-05-22T04:45:14Z

This vivid memoir was influential in the abolition of slavery, and its author would become one of the most significant African Americans of the 19th century

The slave trade and its legacy has become an important sub-theme in this series. If there is one African American who can make the strongest claim to be the godfather of the literature derived from the black American experience, it must be Frederick Douglass (1818-1895). To some critics, he remains “the most influential African American of the 19th century”.

Throughout his long career, Douglass cut an imposing figure, renowned as an impassioned abolitionist, a fiery writer and newspaper editor. He was a great public speaker, who became a one-man crusade for black liberation, part of it conducted in collaboration with Abraham Lincoln, the president who would secure the end of slavery. As a spokesman for his people, Douglass distilled his fortunes into a sequence of vivid personal narratives – this memoir would be followed by two further autobiographies – which, at a time when very few slaves could read or write, captured the imagination of the American reading public.

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Lucy Hughes-Hallett: ‘Here I am, late in life. I wanted to write a novel all that time’

Sat, 13 May 2017 10:00:44 GMT2017-05-13T10:00:44Z

The author of the multi-prize-winning biography of Gabriele d’Annunzio, The Pike, on publishing her first novel at age 65

Lucy Hughes-Hallett had a 40-year career as a journalist, critic and historical author behind her when, in November 2013, she hit the publishing jackpot. Her biography of the Italian poet and demagogue Gabriele d’Annunzio, The Pike, published relatively quietly nine months earlier, won, among others, the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction and the Costa prize for biography. What had been a well-regarded slow seller turned into the kind of book that gets unwrapped across the land on Christmas Day.

Four years on, Hughes-Hallett is about to publish her first novel. At first sight Peculiar Ground has little in common with The Pike, apart from the fact that both are big books that grew out of small ones: while her research on d’Annunzio began life as a possible chapter in a book of essays, Peculiar Ground might have been a novella.

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The Nordic Guide to Living 10 Years Longer by Dr Bertil Marklund – digested read

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 16:00:17 GMT2017-04-23T16:00:17Z

‘Use the Swedish concept of lagom and you will live 10 years longer – if you don’t die first’

Here in Sweden we’re getting a bit fed up with our neighbours. For the last few years, it’s been Danish hygge this and hygge that, or Norwegian “back to the land culture” and, “Sorry we are so much richer than you because we’ve got huge oil reserves.” So my publishers and I thought we should try to put Sweden back on the map – and earn ourselves a few krona into the bargain.

Related: Fancy a beer outside? There's a Scandi word for that – and so much else

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Farewell to the Horse: The Final Century of Our Relationship – review

Mon, 22 May 2017 06:30:16 GMT2017-05-22T06:30:16Z

Ulrich Raulff’s idiosyncratic and wide-ranging study of the horse’s role in human history more than earns its spurs

As you pick up the reins of this book – trying to get a sense of what sort of a ride it is to be – it becomes evident within three paragraphs that you have never read a book like it. Its author, Ulrich Raulff, former literary editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, is a one-off. He has an extraordinarily connective mind and it is seldom possible to predict where he is going with it. Just as you are telling yourself this is a book of calm erudition, you will run into a joke: “My first genuine horse book will have to wait until my rebirth as a horse.” His wit tends to be deadpan. Or you will come across a moment of barely concealed emotion. At the end of the first chapter, he explains his book is for everyone and no one and then relents: “I have written it for my mother, who loved horses and understood them. Whether she would have liked it I will never know. Ten years have passed since I could have asked her.”

Without having known Raulff’s mother, I confidently suppose that she would have loved this book, as any reader interested in horses, history, art, literature or language will. She would have been stunned by its scope and stylish intellect. This is about the end of a relationship between man and horse that Raulff likens to the dissolution of an idiosyncratic workers’ union, and what is thrilling is that the horse becomes a subtext – a new way of considering history via the stable door. It is not altogether a farewell. It is also about the way horses persist in imagination: “Graffiti on a wall, a metaphor, the shadow of a dream – none of these is less real than a being of flesh and blood.” Raulff believes that, as the horse has retired from its working role, it has become more potent as metaphor: “The more they forfeit their worldly presence, the more they haunt the minds of a humanity that has turned away from them.”

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Swell, Turning, Swimming with Seals review – the new wave of women’s waterbiographies

Sat, 20 May 2017 08:00:19 GMT2017-05-20T08:00:19Z

Each of these swimming memoirs by Jenny Landreth, Jessica J Lee and Victoria Whitworth tells a tale of redemption

What’s with all the water? As if a tide has turned or a hand has dragged through a lake to make a ripple, here come a wave of books on swimming in lakes, in the sea, in lidos. Each is by a woman who becomes a swimmer. Each is also about a kind of redemption. And snacks. Swimmers always have snacks.

To borrow Jenny Landreth’s inspired subtitle, all three are waterbiographies. Landreth takes – or swims – us through the history of fabulous swimming pioneers and what she calls swimming suffragettes, women who smashed prejudice and who enable us all to swim freely today and with strokes and costumes of our choosing. Jessica J Lee, a Canadian-British-Chinese academic transplanted to Berlin, chooses to swim through 52 lakes for a year, to gain strength after depression and a broken heart. Victoria Whitworth, a medieval historian, swims almost always in one place: off the Sands of Evie in Orkney, which is sheltered enough to feel safe, and where there are seals who look at her briefly before they move off with indifference.

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The Fact of a Body review – a tale of two crimes

Sat, 20 May 2017 20:44:00 GMT2017-05-20T20:44:00Z

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich’s memoir of a family betrayal sits uneasily with the story of Louisiana child killer Ricky Langley

The Fact of a Body is about two people: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, and the child murderer Ricky Langley. Marzano-Lesnevich first encountered Langley when, as a Harvard law student, she spent a summer interning for Clive Stafford Smith’s New Orleans defence firm, which had just succeeded in getting him off death row. On her first day, Marzano-Lesnevich was shown a tape of Langley confessing to his crime, the sexually motivated murder of a six-year-old boy. Watching it, she felt horrified; she realised that, despite being passionately opposed to the death penalty, she wanted him to die.

Related: The true crime tale that merges murder and memoir – set to be summer’s ‘must-read’

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Post-truth review – Nick Cohen on three timely books

Sun, 21 May 2017 05:30:46 GMT2017-05-21T05:30:46Z

Matthew d’Ancona, James Ball and Evan Davis examine fake news and its corrosive impact on western democracy

If the medium is the message, then the message of the web is “bullshit”. Long before today’s crisis, the American philosopher Harry Frankfurt broke from the conventions of a discipline not known for its plain speaking and explained Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Andrew Wakefield, the Canary, Breitbart, Putin propagandists, Holocaust deniers, climate change fantasists, truthers, birthers, Salafists, sexbots and Mr Michael Gove of the London Times.

Liars respect truth in their way, wrote Frankfurt in his 2005 essay On Bullshit. They care about it enough to know what the truth is and find ways to suppress it. Bullshitters are more dangerous. They neither know nor care whether what they say is true or false, only whether they can advance their interests by fooling the gullible.

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Post Truth by Matthew D’Ancona and Post-Truth by Evan Davis review – is this really a new era of politics?

Fri, 19 May 2017 06:30:00 GMT2017-05-19T06:30:00Z

Lying as the norm has been with us for a while. Is the idea of post-truth another example of liberals understanding people wrongly?

In practice,” Evan Davis writes, “we evidently are quite happy to believe untruths.” Davis is stating what is, perhaps, the most indisputable fact regarding what has been trumpeted as the rise of a new kind of “post-truth” politics. Shrewdly, he describes the belief that we a living in a post-truth era as “an expression of frustration and anguish from a liberal class discombobulated by the political disruptions of 2016”. A catch-all term used by today’s liberals to describe upheavals that confounded their most basic beliefs, “post-truth” politics is like “populism” in implying that these unexpected shifts occurred because reason had been subverted. Duped by demagogues deploying new information technologies, voters disregarded argument and evidence in favour of manipulated emotion and fake news. The idea of truth was lost in a morass of relativism, and the politicians who controlled government for decades were abruptly dislodged from power.

Related: Fake news: an insidious trend that's fast becoming a global problem

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The Art of Losing Control by Jules Evans review – in search of the ecstatic

Thu, 18 May 2017 08:59:22 GMT2017-05-18T08:59:22Z

Religion, music, sex, meditation, psychedelic drugs and war all encourage us to lose ourselves. A philosopher goes gonzo

Have you ever been aware of or influenced by a presence or power, whether you call it God or not, which is different from your everyday self?” This is “the Hardy question”, named after Alister Hardy, an Oxford zoologist who, in retirement, switched to collecting spiritual specimens. Responses to it form the core of an archive of epiphanies, stored in cardboard boxes at the University of Wales, Lampeter. In that prosaic setting, numinous dreams involving David Cameron are filed beside apparitions of the Virgin Mary.

Rather than being a repository for the eccentric and bizarre, however, it seems the stories preserved by the Religious Experience Research Centre are fairly ordinary. In 1978, 36% of those surveyed answered Hardy’s question in the affirmative. That had leapt to 48% in 1987. So much for the age of unbelief.

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The Making of Donald Trump by David Cay Johnston – who controls Trump’s feelings?

Thu, 18 May 2017 13:00:27 GMT2017-05-18T13:00:27Z

A tour of the president’s business career exposes his double-dealing and mob connections but also the complicity of big finance

The Making of Donald Trump gives a short tour of the business career of America’s 45th president. The narrative is episodic and inconsecutive, but it begins at the beginning, with the example set by Fred Trump, the father of Donald: a mid-century real-estate buccaneer, adroit at political manipulation and statute dodging. The book goes on to recount a few of the scandalous details of the construction of Trump Tower and the purchase, mismanagement and financial collapse of Donald’s casino properties in Atlantic City.

Various chapters take in the mob connections that Trump aimed to profit from while keeping at two removes (sometimes with the help of an apartment gratis); there are also free-standing anecdotes about friends and associates, and a chapter on Trump’s bid for the gambling custom of the high-rolling Japanese real-estate investor Akio Kashiwagi. The book bears the marks of having been put together under pressure to stop the election disaster. Pared down to half its length and distributed to every voter in the contested states, it might have helped to produce a different result.

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October by China Miéville review – a brilliant retelling of the Russian Revolution

Wed, 17 May 2017 08:59:04 GMT2017-05-17T08:59:04Z

Miéville returns to the dazzling reality of the events of 1917 and sees nothing inevitable about their eventual degradation

Gone are the days when visitors to the mausoleum in Red Square were forced to leave their cameras behind before being marshalled two-by-two in a tightly ordered queue that could take up to an hour to reach the cold cavern where Lenin’s body lies. Cameras are still not allowed inside but everything else is now different. A much smaller crowd ambles forward with big gaps in the line while stragglers pause to take selfies in front of the plinths that carry busts of former Soviet leaders. Having a snap of yourself beside Stalin is a particular favourite, whether out of respect for the dead dictator or because it is seen as an amusing thing to do.

Solemnity has been replaced by casual curiosity, just one among many signs of the confusion that today’s Russians feel over the legacy of the revolution of 1917. What is true for sightseers outside the Kremlin walls also applies to those who hold power within them. Vladimir Putin has not ordered Lenin to be properly buried, as many anti-Communists hoped would already have been done by Boris Yeltsin, but the current Russian strongman seems totally unsure how to mark the revolution’s centenary this October, or indeed whether to mark it at all. This is not really surprising for a man who started his career as a Soviet loyalist and public atheist, but now claims to be a Christian and has accused Lenin’s Bolsheviks of being enemies of the state for stabbing tsarist Russia in the back.

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A Generation of Sociopaths review – how Trump and other Baby Boomers ruined the world

Wed, 17 May 2017 06:30:01 GMT2017-05-17T06:30:01Z

Bruce Cannon Gibney’s study convinces Jane Smiley of the damage her own American generation has done

The day before I finished reading A Generation of Sociopaths, who should pop up to prove Bruce Cannon Gibney’s point, as if he had been paid to do so, but the notorious Joe Walsh (born 1961), former congressman and Obama denigrator. In answer to talkshow host Jimmy Kimmel’s plea for merciful health insurance, using his newborn son’s heart defect as an example, Walsh tweeted: “Sorry Jimmy Kimmel: your sad story doesn’t obligate me or anyone else to pay for somebody else’s health care.” Gibney’s essential point, thus proved, is that boomers are selfish to the core, among other failings, and as a boomer myself, I feel the “you got me” pain that we all ought to feel but so few of us do.

Gibney is about my daughter’s age – born in the late 1970s – and admits that one of his parents is a boomer. He has a wry, amusing style (“As the Boomers became Washington’s most lethal invasive species … ”) and plenty of well parsed statistics to back him up. His essential point is that by refusing to make the most basic (and fairly minimal) sacrifices to manage infrastructure, address climate change and provide decent education and healthcare, the boomers have bequeathed their children a mess of daunting proportions. Through such government programmes as social security and other entitlements, they have run up huge debts that the US government cannot pay except by, eventually, soaking the young. One of his most affecting chapters is about how failing schools feed mostly African American youth into the huge for-profit prison system. Someday, they will get out. There will be no structures in place to employ or take care of them.

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Radicals: Outsiders Changing the World by Jamie Bartlett – review

Tue, 16 May 2017 06:30:07 GMT2017-05-16T06:30:07Z

This thoughtful study of radical movements explores politics, sex and drugs

It’s often been said that most nonfiction books are really magazine articles blown up to enable publication. But that analysis is increasingly anachronistic. Magazines, with a few honourable exceptions, no longer run the kind of articles that form the basis for expansion to book-size.

Jamie Bartlett’s new book is a case in point – it’s a collection of disparate pieces that could, in a previous era, have been published as long magazine articles. In fact, some of them have appeared in newspapers and magazines in much shorter versions, but the only way to do them justice nowadays is in a book.

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Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall of the Rock Stars by David Hepworth – review

Mon, 15 May 2017 06:30:38 GMT2017-05-15T06:30:38Z

Hepworth’s lively study of rock’s greatest stars, from Little Richard to Kurt Cobain, underlines how much the music industry has changed

In Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall of the Rock Stars, music writer, presenter and author of 1971: Never a Dull Moment, David Hepworth, not only pronounces “the rock star” dead, he traces the time of death to around the mid-1990s, with Kurt Cobain described as “a genuine rock star, possibly the last one”.

While Uncommon People is full of death (Presley, Lennon, Bowie), the most significant is that of the industry as it was

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Between Them: Remembering My Parents by Richard Ford – review

Sun, 14 May 2017 05:30:07 GMT2017-05-14T05:30:07Z

Two essays on the deaths of the author’s mother and father, written decades apart, are extraordinary studies of how we experience loss – and recall it

In an interview, I once asked Richard Ford about his experience of loss. Having read Ford’s prose over many years – his wonderful stories of the American south and midwest, where he grew up, his unfolding examination of his country’s slow fall from grace at the century’s end through the wearied, optimistic eyes of his everyman, Frank Bascombe – I was interested in how he always seemed to shadow even the sunniest of exchanges between his characters with poignancy, with a sense that nothing of the future might be as bright as what was passing. Some of it had to do with a cadence in his writing, the easy way that he let his words fall on the page before toying with their unwinding southern syntax, adding edges and depths. Reading Ford, those musical effects – he puts some of them down to childhood dyslexia and being a slow reader – invariably reminded me of Gertrude Stein’s observation that “sentences are not emotional, but paragraphs are”. Anyhow, with all this in mind, I asked him in our interview about loss and he replied in two ways.

First, he said, “I don’t think a writer who writes about loss (if I do) needs to have suffered loss himself. We can imagine loss. That’s the writer’s job.” And second, he said this: “I was the child of older parents who I always was fearfully expecting to die on me. And the old Arkansas aunties and uncles did start departing when I was a small child… Then my father died when I was 16 – died in my arms at home. We were a three-person family. Very close and loving. So I experienced loss when he died; and probably as significantly, I experienced the loss my mother suffered – of her one great love in life. How we experience what we experience is a complex business.”

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Admissions by Henry Marsh – the bestselling neurosurgeon reveals more

Sat, 13 May 2017 07:00:40 GMT2017-05-13T07:00:40Z

The author of Do No Harm has written an entertaining and very personal follow-up in which he looks back on a life in medicine

Death haunts the pages of Admissions: the author’s fear of his own, and those of his patients. The book opens with two paradoxical epigraphs: “We should always, as near as we can, be booted and spurred, and ready to go” (Montaigne), and “Neither the sun nor death can be looked at steadily” (La Rochefoucauld). Few of us prepare adequately for death, but Marsh quite literally has: he keeps a “suicide kit” at home of a few lethal drugs he has acquired over the years. His second neurosurgical memoir is transgressive, wry and confessional, sporadically joyful and occasionally doleful. It is in many ways a more revealing work than his bestseller Do No Harm, and the revelations it offers are a good deal more personal.

Related: A matter of life and death: William Boyd on the rise of the surgeon-memoir

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The Kingdom of Women by Choo Waihong review – the 'free love tribe' that became a goldmine

Fri, 12 May 2017 08:00:13 GMT2017-05-12T08:00:13Z

A Singapore lawyer settled in a traditional matriarchal society in western China, observing its customs, beliefs – and its transformation into a tourist trap

Some time in the 1920s, the Austrian-American plant collector and journalist Joseph Rock visited Lugu Lake in the mountains on the border between Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, in southwest China. He took several photographs of the inhabitants and mentioned – in passing – that this was a matriarchal society.

It had taken Rock 11 days to reach the lake, inching along treacherous mountain trails from his base in Lijiang, with a full complement of porters and, on the first occasion, an obligatory contingent of 10 soldiers. Today, there is a broad highway, a cable car and an airport – and most nights the Mosuo people, who number around 40,000, dress up and dance for tourists.

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Eurovision! by Chris West review – what a song contest says about a continent

Fri, 12 May 2017 06:30:11 GMT2017-05-12T06:30:11Z

An average point score for this study of the political ramifications of the annual parade of out-of-touch songs

I have always been a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest, the 62nd instalment of which takes place in Kiev on 13 May. At least I hope it takes place – this has been one of the more troubled stagings, with the hostility between Ukraine and Russia spilling over into a competition that is supposed to be an expression of European solidarity.

There is one qualification to my fandom: I don’t think I have ever managed to sit through the contest’s entirety, which these days runs to more than three hours. The bit I like is the judging, which usually occupies the last quarter of the show. That’s when the amities and enmities between the nations of Europe – the centuries-old frictions that have always tended to undermine the grand ambitions of the Eurovision project – come to the fore. Cyprus and Greece vote for each other; Belarus backs Russia; the Scandinavian and Balkan countries vote as a bloc; and over the last 20 years, as the UK has increasingly become the odd one out in the EU, no one has voted for us. It was all too much for Terry Wogan, whose mordant commentaries kept the contest afloat in the UK. He quit in 2008, complaining that the event was now about politics rather than music.

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The Things I Would Tell You review – an anthology of British Muslim Women

Fri, 19 May 2017 15:00:10 GMT2017-05-19T15:00:10Z

Kamila Shamsie and Ahdaf Soueif are among the contributors to this lively and varied collection put together by Sabrina MahfouzSabrina Mahfouz has put together a lively, varied anthology. As she explains, the writers she has chosen all “identify as having both a British and a Muslim background, regardless of their birthplace, citizenship status or religiosity”. Their roots are in a dozen countries, yet the paths they have followed all cross and make a creative mark in Britain. There is great variety of form here too: as well as short stories, there are playscripts, poems and essays. Strong, impassioned voices speak out from the pages: Ahdaf Soueif laments the undermining of the “mezzaterra” where Arab and western culture recognised their common ground; Aisha Mirza rails against “white liberals” who “put our heads on sticks and call it multiculturalism”. Humour leavens the mix in Kamila Shamsie’s story of a makeup artist’s insights into her flawed clients, while the poets include several under 20 whose voices strike true. Perhaps Miss L’s funny and sad account of tamping down her acting ambitions thanks to typecasting can stand for all the women in the book, who just want to be heard.• The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write is published by Saqi. To order a copy for £11.04 (RRP £12.99) go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99. Continue reading...[...]


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House of Names by Colm Tóibín – brilliant retelling of a Greek tragedy

Mon, 22 May 2017 08:00:18 GMT2017-05-22T08:00:18Z

The writer takes us behind the scenes of The Oresteia in ‘a celebration of what novels can do’

When Peter Hall staged Aeschylus’s The Oresteia at the National in 1981, his all-male cast wore long, ghoulish masks for the nearly six-hour duration of the trilogy. The masks served partly to illustrate the distance between these ancient figures and their modern spectators, some two-and-a-half millennia later. They also, though, made the point that Aeschylus’s characters were not characters at all, at least as we might understand the term. They were elemental figures in a morality play about the progress of a society from chaos into civilisation, a play that sought to establish new rules about the relationship between gods and men.

House of Names, Colm Tóibín’s ninth novel, is ostensibly a retelling of The Oresteia through the voices of its principal characters – Clytemnestra and her children, Orestes and Electra. Clytemnestra’s first-person narrative takes up the initial third of the book, recapitulating the dreadful events at Aulis and then moving to the palace at Argos. The voice is hard, sure and compelling as Clytemnestra plots with her lover, Aegisthus, to murder the returning Agamemnon. The novel then moves to a third-person record of Orestes’s wandering and return, passages which are redolent of Madeleine Miller’s Song of Achilles in their fast-paced action and simmering homoeroticism. The final sections of the book weave between the voices of Electra, Orestes and (briefly) Clytemnestra as the son returns to avenge his father.

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Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout review – a subtle collection

Sat, 20 May 2017 06:30:17 GMT2017-05-20T06:30:17Z

In this follow-up to My Name Is Lucy Barton, sharply compassionate stories find suffering, pity and grace in smalltown America

In My Name Is Lucy Barton, the novel that came before this collection of stories, Lucy Barton, who is just starting out as a writer, meets and is mentored by a shy novelist called Sarah Payne. Like Lucy – and like Strout herself – Payne grew up in a small town in postwar America. Lucy admires her novels because “they try to tell you something truthful … she wrote about people who worked hard and suffered and also had good things happen to them. And then,” Lucy adds, “I realised that even in her books, she was not telling exactly the truth, she was always staying away from something.”

Payne’s books, as described here, resemble nothing so much as Strout’s own. Her habit of oblique understatement has, by now, become so honed that it makes for a finely ground prose in which style is substance. It’s a writerly quality she shares with Lucy, whose narrative in My Name Is Lucy Barton is charged with meaningful silences.

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British Museum by Daljit Nagra review – a questing, questioning third volume

Fri, 19 May 2017 13:00:08 GMT2017-05-19T13:00:08Z

The poet breaks new, more political ground in a significant departure of style

When Daljit Nagra’s mischievous and distinctive first book of poems won the Forward debut prize 10 years ago, it prompted a frenzy of interview requests and newspaper features. “Immigrant’s Son Wins Forward” hollered one tabloid, while broadsheets wondered at the animated new writer publishing his debut with the esteemed Faber and Faber. At best, this was indicative of a mainstream British culture eager to package the writer as multicultural or postcolonial; at worst, it was an example of the social divisions and cultural unease that still plague our political climate with increasingly disturbing ramifications.

Witty, sardonic and self-aware, Nagra was one step ahead. “Must I wear only masks that don’t sit for a Brit” his comic alter ego scoffs in one poem: “Did you make me for the gap in the market?” Look We Have Coming to Dover! (2007) was followed by Tippoo Sultan’s Incredible White-Man-Eating Tiger Toy-Machine!!! (2011), a second book that established Nagra as an astute cultural commentator, apt to combine knockabout comedy, literary allusion and a keen sense of political injustice to challenging effect. His poems are as likely to employ Punjabi-inflected English as they are to quote Wordsworth, conjuring memories of a British Asian childhood just as they energise the language in an update to Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach”, where migrants “babble our lingoes, flecked by the chalk of Britannia!”

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The End We Start From by Megan Hunter review – parenting in the end times

Fri, 19 May 2017 11:00:05 GMT2017-05-19T11:00:05Z

This fragmentary debut novel sets the shock of new motherhood against an England hit by apocalyptic floods

Having a baby can feel like the end of the world. In her slim, fragmentary debut novel, Megan Hunter examines new motherhood against an apocalyptic scenario in which flooding tips England into chaos: as the narrator’s waters break, the waters in London rise. As in Emma Donoghue’s Room, where the notorious Fritzl case inspired an exploration of the claustrophobia and intensity of the mother-child relationship, the extremity of the setting powers the novel’s central metaphor at the same time as throwing the repetitions and revelations of parenting into sharp relief.

It is also part of a growing trend to approach parenthood side on, smash it into fragments, and offer up the shards. Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation did this brilliantly in 2014, jumbling together motherhood, marriage and stifled ambition. Rivka Galchen’s Little Labours, published this month, is a miscellany of new parenthood with its own arresting metaphor: to have a baby, she writes, is to welcome a puma into your apartment.

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Gravel Heart by Abdulrazak Gurnah review – hard truth is hidden at home

Fri, 19 May 2017 08:00:01 GMT2017-05-19T08:00:01Z

From his broken childhood in Zanzibar, to his new life in London, to his homecoming – a man is haunted by the reason for his parents’ separation

The Booker-shortlisted novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah gives us a story with a secret at its core – and yet, there is nothing manipulative about the withholding of the truth, and no sense that the author is relying on a breadcrumb trail of clues to keep us reading. Instead, and more satisfyingly, he is writing about the cost of secrets that are based on imbalances of power – imbalances of class, gender and love.

The “secret” at the start of the book seems nothing more than a domestic falling-out. Salim is seven, in 1970s Zanzibar, when his father abandons the house; at first his mother says he has only gone away for a few days. Soon it becomes clear that he has moved out and is renting a room in another part of town. At first she delivers him a basket of food every day, then she asks Salim to take over the duty. Neither parent ever speaks of the reason for their discord.

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Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott review – secret science in a fantasy debut

Thu, 18 May 2017 08:00:20 GMT2017-05-18T08:00:20Z

A hidden English town with no MP, no police and some very clever children … The mysteries of Rotherweird make for a compelling first instalment of a trilogy

A fantasy trilogy might seem an unlikely venture for a distinguished QC, but Andrew Caldecott has already tried his hand at drama, and received good notices. And on closer acquaintance, there are congruences between the first episode, Rotherweird and his day job. Though it resembles the love child of Gormenghast without the rancour, and Hogwarts without the rightful heir, it diverges from the usual fantasy templates.

Rotherweird’s town and valley are not so much a lost world as a lost gated community, comfortably ensconced in a quiet corner of rural England. The region has been endowed since Elizabethan times with extraordinary exemptions – no MP, no county, no bishop; apparently no police – and protected from outside interference. But why? In the outide world, London is the glass, concrete and steel monster we know, but the currency is in guineas, and the year is around 1966; we are given hints that the enclave is not just a quirky fantasy stage set, embedded in a familiar 20th century. So is there a dark secret behind this mysterious situation? The story Caldecott tells amounts to a cautious, determined and unusually perilous inquiry to find out.

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A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson review – Agatha Christie in peril

Thu, 18 May 2017 06:30:18 GMT2017-05-18T06:30:18Z

The queen of crime is the central character in this audacious mystery, which reinvents the story of her mysterious disappearance with thrilling resultsThe biographer of Patricia Highsmith, Sylvia Plath and Alexander McQueen, Andrew Wilson has written fiction before, but A Talent for Murder is an entirely different kind of beast. You may perhaps have read those books in which Jane Austen is a detective, or the Brontës come back as ghosts: fan fiction in which a writer’s enthusiasm for their literary hero leads them towards a reimagining of the hero’s life. James Joyce, secret agent, etc. There are of course some fine examples of the genre: Drood (2009) by Dan Simmons, featuring Dickens and Wilkie Collins, and a number of novels by Matthew Pearl, who specialises in this kind of thing. But no one to date, to my knowledge, has successfully cast the queen of crime herself as the lead character in a crime novel – until now, that is.Thank God A Talent for Murder is good, because Wilson is certainly playing for high stakes. Agatha Christie was working as a pharmacist in 1920 when she was challenged by her sister, Madge, to come up with a detective story, which she duly did, featuring a 5ft4in retired Belgian police officer – and she remains the bestselling novelist of all time. The only writer to have created two great recurring detective characters, Poirot and Jane Marple, she was also the only woman ever to have had three plays running simultaneously in the West End. Making Christie the hero of your novel is a bit like making Shakespeare the main character in your play: it’s either very brave or utterly foolhardy. Continue reading...[...]


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New Boy by Tracy Chevalier review – if Othello were a schoolboy

Wed, 17 May 2017 08:00:03 GMT2017-05-17T08:00:03Z

Bullies, a betrayer and one romantic admirer … Shakespeare is transplanted to a school in 1970s Washington DC in this reimagining of his tragedyThis novel is part of a series of retellings of Shakespeare’s work by writers including Margaret Atwood, Howard Jacobson, Jo Nesbø and Jeanette Winterson. The project pays tribute to the enduring relevance of the plays and the infinite possibilities of breathing new life into stories that were themselves reshaped from medieval tales, histories and the literature of the ancient world. New Boy is in the tradition of movies such as 10 Things I Hate About You or West Side Story, or Toni Morrison’s play Desdemona, in which she rewrites Othello as a conversation in the afterlife between the murdered wife and her African nurse Barbary. Chevalier takes what is possibly the most emotionally charged of Shakespeare’s plays and transplants it in time and place. The new boy of the title is Osei Kokote, the Ghanaian son of a diplomat, who joins the sixth grade late in the school year. This is Washington DC in the 1970s, a time when the partial armour of political correctness had yet to offer protection against blatant racism. Not only does Osei have to navigate new friendships and the brutal politics of the playground, he is also the only black child in the school. From the casual, unexamined bigotry and suspicion of the teachers and the outright hostility of some of his schoolmates, it’s clear that “settling in” is not going to be easy. Continue reading...[...]


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Into the Water by Paula Hawkins review – demanding thrills from Girl on a Train author

Tue, 16 May 2017 06:30:07 GMT2017-05-16T06:30:07Z

Hawkins exchanges the simplicity and directness of her global bestseller for multiple narrators and plot linesIt’s impossible to pin down the alchemy that turns a novel like Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train into an unstoppable bestseller. It was a beautifully twisty, chilling thriller, but so were many others published in 2015. It can’t all be attributed to the magic of the now-ubiquitous “girl” in the title. But perhaps it has something to do with the apparent simplicity of its concept – a woman who drinks too much sees something she shouldn’t have from a train window. It’s easy to tell people about; it’s easy to imagine ourselves into the heroine’s situation.There’s no simple, one-line description for Hawkins’s follow-up, Into the Water, released two years after The Girl on the Train, when the author might have been still lounging around on the riches earned from global sales of 18m copies. In contrast to the three narrators of Girl, Into the Water has at least 11. Rather than digging into the lives of a few characters, Hawkins throws her net across an entire town. That’s Beckford, in the countryside near Newcastle, a place with a river running through it and a pool where women, “all those troublesome women”, have drowned themselves, or been drowned, for centuries. “People turned a blind eye, though, didn’t they? No one liked to think about the fact that the water in that river was infected with the blood and bile of persecuted women, unhappy women; they drank it every day.” Continue reading...[...]


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My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal review – moving story of racial injustice

Sun, 14 May 2017 09:00:12 GMT2017-05-14T09:00:12Z

Skilfully drawn characters and emotions lend great power to this story of institutional racism in 80s Britain

“Careful” is the first word spoken in this moving debut novel, as a nurse places a newborn baby into the arms of eight-year-old Leon. The nurse and Leon’s mother then leave the boy alone with the baby and he starts to tell him the story of his life. The brothers share a mother but have different fathers (“I look like my dad. Mum says he’s coloured but Dad says he’s black but they’re both wrong because he’s dark brown and I’m light brown”). The new baby has “dusty blue” eyes, blonde hair and white skin. The difference in their skin colour will come to define the course of their futures in a searing story cutting to the quick of race relations in 1980s Britain.

The theme of carefulness – and carelessness – permeates this novel, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Costa first novel award. We see Leon and his baby brother, Jake, as they are sent to live with Maureen, who has fostered 22 children. With his child’s perspective we see Leon navigating a bewildering world: through snatches of overheard conversation; through discovered paperwork detailing his mother’s mental health problems; and through painful memories of fights between his parents. When he is nine, a social worker breaks the news that Jake is to be adopted by a new family, but that Leon will remain. Maureen explains to Leon that this is because Jake is “a white baby. And you’re not”; and that “life isn’t fair”.

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New Boy by Tracy Chevalier review – a vexed retelling of Othello

Sun, 14 May 2017 08:00:10 GMT2017-05-14T08:00:10Z

Shakespeare’s plays rarely translate well into novels, as seen in this Bard-inspired tale set in the Washington burbs

Charles and Mary Lamb have a lot to answer for. Ever since their Tales from Shakespeare, an idea has taken root that his great plays are a kind of animated fiction, blueprints for perfectly formed, compelling stories. On this reading, our national poet is just a master storyteller who spins archetypal stories and characters as if he were Hollywood’s golden goose.

Well, not really. Shakespeare was a playwright, not a novelist, who traded in brilliant theatrical metaphors and unforgettable characters. Often from borrowed material, he conjured stunning stage plots – a quite different thing from fiction – through what the scholar Stephen Greenblatt calls the exercise of “strategic opacity”. In other words, Shakespeare would plant some unresolved and inexplicable mystery at the heart of his greatest work, and let its multi-faceted complexity dazzle and bewitch his audience.

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Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami – review

Sun, 14 May 2017 07:00:09 GMT2017-05-14T07:00:09Z

Haruki Murakami’s long-awaited return to the short story is a masterclass in pacing and the tragicomic revelationCuriosity, in Murakami’s supremely enjoyable, philosophical and pitch-perfect new collection of short stories – his first for more than a decade – is what motivates many of his characters. Their curiosity becomes ours and propels each narrative onwards. But curiosity is shown to be complicated. Is it healthy, necessary, wise? Or does it kill the cat? In the first story, Drive My Car (Murakami’s Beatlemania has outlasted the success of his bestselling novel Norwegian Wood), curiosity is in every sense a driving force. A veteran actor and widower is obliged to hire a chauffeur for his ancient yellow Saab 900 convertible (Murakami always supplies manufacturing details of his characters’ cars). Kafuku has been banned from driving after a scrape in which he was found to have been drinking, and his theatre company is now paying for his transport during a run of Uncle Vanya. He is compelled therefore to put himself in the competent hands of a plain chauffeur, a woman with ears “like satellite dishes placed in some remote landscape” (the glee with which Murakami alights on such similes is infectious).Kafuku uses his time in the car to run through his lines en route to the theatre until his almost wordless chauffeur starts, in due course, to be curious. She wants to know why he appears to have no friends. He confesses to her that he manufactured a friendship with one of his late wife’s lovers – a pleasant, fortysomething actor. They became drinking buddies. He and his wife never discussed her infidelities and Murakami shows how the widower’s curiosity becomes at once [...]


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The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan review – a cult magical realist saga

Sat, 13 May 2017 06:30:40 GMT2017-05-13T06:30:40Z

A runaway success in Russia, translated into English at last, this epic set in a school for students with disabilities offers so much more than a Soviet Hogwarts

Gangs of teenagers have strange adventures in a rambling boarding school on the edge of town: it sounds like a premise for a children’s book. But Mariam Petrosyan’s first novel, a 732-page magical realist saga two decades in the writing that has been a cult success in Russia, has unexpected depths as well as lashings of alcohol and violence. The Gray House is enigmatic and fantastical, comic and postmodern, flawed but brilliant, with elements of multiple genres – Rowling meets Rushdie via Tartt.

It is the latest offering from AmazonCrossing, which now produces more books in translation than any other US publisher, focusing on popular and accessible fiction. Marian Schwartz, who translates for them, says: “Amazon may be bad for booksellers, but I don’t see AmazonCrossing being bad for literary translation.” The problem is sales: the books are not often available in shops and are rarely reviewed because “everyone hates Amazon”. So can The Gray House be successful in English?

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The best recent crime novels – review roundup

Fri, 12 May 2017 11:00:16 GMT2017-05-12T11:00:16Z

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly; You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood; Time to Win by Harry Brett; Crimson Lake by Candice Fox; Hell’s Gate by Laurent GaudéHave we reached peak twist in crime fiction? While it’s true that few things are more memorable than a good plot twist, the opposite is also the case: an abrupt left turn on the part of the writer can leave the reader feeling at best nonplussed, and at worst swindled. There is a fine line between coming a cropper and getting the balance right, a feat achieved by an audacious whisker in Erin Kelly’s latest novel, He Said/She Said (Hodder & Stoughton, £16.99). Eclipse chasers Kit and Laura have been together for 15 years and are expecting their longed-for first child. It should be a happy time, but a cloud has hung over them since, six months into their relationship, Laura witnessed the rape of a stranger, Beth Taylor, at a festival in Cornwall. Sure of what she saw, Laura embroidered her evidence, and the man was convicted. At first Beth is grateful, but then events take a turn that results in the couple living in fear under new identities. Kit and Laura share the narration, which alternates between 1999 (the rape) and 2015 (the present), ramping up the tension until what first appears as paranoia becomes a very real threat indeed. Smart plotting, strong characters and a deft exploration of complicity and betrayal add up to a stand-out read. Continue reading...[...]


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The Awkward Age by Francesca Segal review – modern-day family fallout

Thu, 11 May 2017 14:00:04 GMT2017-05-11T14:00:04Z

Love and duty are tested when two families merge in a sharply observed morality tale for our time

Francesca Segal’s sharply observed second novel asks what parents owe to their children, and vice versa. After five years of widowhood, Julia Alden has met and fallen in love with James Fuller, a handsome American doctor. James and his teenage son, Nathan, have moved into the north London home Julia shares with her teenage daughter, Gwen. But as the novel opens, this is not so much a blended family as an elaborate civil war. Gwen is desperate to have her mother to herself, and wants Nathan and James out of the way; James finds her irritatingly needy. Nathan can’t bear the highly strung Gwen; Julia hates the way Nathan preys on her daughter’s insecurities. Holding it all together involves endless restraint and diplomacy, but, for Julia and James, it’s worth it for the sake of a second shot at happiness. “When will they start to be nice to each other?” asks Julia, as if to convince herself that it might be that simple.

Related: Francesca Segal: ‘I think there are multiple awkward ages’

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A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson review – when Agatha went missing

Sun, 21 May 2017 09:00:01 GMT2017-05-21T09:00:01Z

A thriller based around Agatha Christie’s real-life disappearance in 1926 is deft, dark and thoroughly good fun

In a real-life mystery as intriguing as the plots from her novels, Agatha Christie went missing for 10 days in the winter of 1926. To this day, no one really knows what she got up to, and literary biographer Andrew Wilson can’t resist the opportunity to use this fascinating set-up as a starting point for a really enjoyable – and wholly fictional – blackmail and murder-laden thriller. It’s a simple premise easily encapsulated on the jacket: “You, Mrs Christie, are going to commit a murder… but, before then, you are going to disappear.” But with a backdrop of marital breakdown and real-life scandal it feels a lot less stagey than a typical Christie novel.

A Talent for Murder is the first in a series and has been optioned for TV: it’s not difficult to see why. Wilson not only knows his subject but he deftly moves this Agatha Christie tale away from mere literary ventriloquism and into darker, more psychological territory. Great fun, too.

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The Walworth Beauty by Michèle Roberts review – London past and present meet

Sun, 21 May 2017 08:00:49 GMT2017-05-21T08:00:49Z

Victorian vice and contemporary life entwine in Roberts’s lyrical latest work

Two time frames are skilfully linked in Michèle Roberts’s latest novel. In London in 1851, Joseph has been employed by the social reformer Henry Mayhew to help research his articles, which entails interviewing prostitutes in Southwark. Meanwhile in 2011, Madeleine loses her job as a lecturer and moves into the same neighbourhood, where she is haunted by echoes of history.

In a book filled with streetwalkers wandering through London (the city “alive as a strange creature”), the author peels away the layers of place to reveal the past pulsing within. The river snakes through this story, but as well as London’s pathways and waterways, Roberts explores the human heart and, in lyrical language, locates beauty in unexpected places.

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The Boy Behind the Curtain by Tim Winton review – short fiction and essays from an Aussie master

Sun, 21 May 2017 07:00:48 GMT2017-05-21T07:00:48Z

The award-winning novelist is at his personal best, with insights into surfing, class and a writer’s anguishIn the opening chapter of Tim Winton’s new collection of stories and essays, he recalls how, as a child, he would grab his parent’s gun when they were out of the house and aim it secretly at his unwitting neighbours: “Anything could have happened, none of it good. And just in time … before anything irreparable could come of this impulse, I found words.” In The Boy Behind the Curtain, the award-winning novelist delivers some of his most personal writing to date. There are stories about near-fatal road accidents, childhood viewings of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the energising pleasures of surfing. Interspersed with these autobiographical tales are essays on some of Winton’s lifelong preoccupations: environmental issues, class, immigration and the purpose of art. In one, he describes with searing candour the self-criticism and despair of the creative writer. Eclectic and impassioned, it is a collection that affirms the power of the written word and Winton’s mastery of it.• The Boy Behind the Curtain by Tim Winton is published by Picador (£16.99). To order a copy for £14.44 go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99 Continue reading...[...]


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Dragon’s Green review – this tale of a magical education is a cracker

Sat, 20 May 2017 07:30:19 GMT2017-05-20T07:30:19Z

In her first book for children, Scarlett Thomas conjures up a mobile-free ‘Otherworld’ where plucky Effie Truelove takes on the forces of darkness

Dragon’s Green is the first book for children by Scarlett Thomas, whose adult novels include The Seed Collectors and The End of Mr Y. Of course, doing well in one kind of writing doesn’t guarantee success in another. Many good writers for adults have tried their hand at stories for children only to fail, and vice versa. But I’m pleased to report that this opening volume of a fantasy trilogy is a cracker.

Fantasy stories live or die by the worlds they create, and this one provides a fairly standard “magical” background. A realm of magic (“the Otherworld”) is separated from the everyday world by a porous boundary, and good and bad sorcerers (“the Guild” and “the Diberi”) struggle against each other for mastery of both. But there is an original twist. Five years before the opening of the story, a massive, Earth-wide disturbance (“the Worldquake”) instantly reversed the last 25 years of technological development, wiping out the internet and mobile phones.

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Pinocchio and the Field of Miracles, read by Andrew Scott – Travel folktales for kids podcast

Fri, 19 May 2017 09:54:53 GMT2017-05-19T09:54:53Z

The little wooden puppet who dreams of becoming a real boy was born in Tuscany. The second of our new audio series for children explains how

Subscribe and review: iTunes, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud and Acast, and join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

Tuscany is the birthplace of one of the most famous children’s tales ever written: Pinocchio. The Adventures of Pinocchio is set in a villa in Collodi, where the Florentine writer Carlo Lorenzini was born and spent his youth. The book was written under the pseudonym Carlo Collodi, echoing his love for the village.

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Ten things Anne of Green Gables taught me

Fri, 19 May 2017 13:00:08 GMT2017-05-19T13:00:08Z

The modern reader can learn much from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s plucky heroine, 11-year-old orphan Anne Shirley

I’ve just had a baby so I’m up a lot in the small hours, and when I can’t get back to sleep, I’ve been indulging in the guilty pleasure of reading everything I can find about the new TV adaptation of Anne of Green Gables. I read LM Montgomery’s 1908 novel and its seven sequels over and over as a girl. I’d get to the end of book eight and start again, with plucky red-headed orphan Anne Shirley waiting at a train station for her new life to begin. She taught me things I still think about every day.

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2017 Klaus Flugge prize for children's book illustration – in pictures

Thu, 18 May 2017 05:00:17 GMT2017-05-18T05:00:17Z

Named after the influential children’s publisher, the award spotlights the most exciting new illustrators. The winner will be announced on 13 September. Here judge and bestselling illustrator of The Gruffalo Axel Scheffler introduces the shortlist

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The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave – review

Tue, 16 May 2017 10:00:11 GMT2017-05-16T10:00:11Z

The award-winning author’s second novel, set in the early 20th-century Philippines, is another beautifully told page-turner

Second books are notoriously tricky beasts and the standard is set high here: Hargrave’s debut, The Girl of Ink and Stars, was that most elusive thing, a book that came from nowhere and caught fire, becoming a bestseller and winner of the Waterstones children’s book prize. Happily, this new novel confirms her as one of the most exciting emerging talents in children’s books.

This time the story is rooted in history, set in the early 20th century on Culion Island in the Philippines which was the world’s biggest leper colony. Twelve-year-old Ami was born on the island; she is disease-free but lives with her mother who is “touched”. The arrival of Mr Zamora, a sinister government official, brings the life-changing decree that all healthy children must leave the island and move to an orphanage. Banished across the sea, can Ami find her way home before her mother dies?

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Release by Patrick Ness review – a gay teenager’s quest for freedom

Sat, 13 May 2017 08:00:42 GMT2017-05-13T08:00:42Z

Themes of sex, shame and sexuality are explored in this coming-of-age novel with echoes of Mrs DallowayPatrick Ness is known for taking the staple themes of young adult literature – coming of age, feeling at ease in your own skin – and interweaving them with supernatural elements. More Than This (2013) features a teenage cast in an ambiguous limbo, which may or may not be the afterlife; The Rest of Us Just Live Here (2015) foregrounds characters experiencing ordinary happiness and heartbreak, while “Chosen” adolescent heroes, with names such as Indigo, battle monsters in the background. Release is written in the same vein, and is probably his most heartfelt novel to date.He comments in the endnote on his debt to Mrs Dalloway, and the Woolfian echoes begin with the opening line: “Adam would have to get the flowers himself.” The blooms in question are not to deck a high-society party, however, but to keep the drive turned out as befits the pastor of the House on the Rock, a second-string evangelical church in small-town Washington state. Ness’s protagonist, Adam Thorn, is the preacher’s disappointing gay second son, weighed down by his father’s “Yoke” until he can achieve the release of the title: independence, adulthood, sex without secrecy or shame. On the Saturday during which the book’s action takes place, Adam, crossing paths and swords w[...]


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