D. J. Taylor

The devastation left behind after the Blitz (Photo: Getty)

Ghosts of the past haunt Pat Barker’s bomb-strewn London

29 August 2015 9:00 am

If the early Martin Amis is instantly recognisable by way of its idiosyncratic slang (‘rug-rethink’, ‘going tonto’ etc) then the…

Barbara Pym (Photo: Getty)

Barbara Pym: a woman scorned

23 May 2015 9:00 am

Anyone who has ever listened to the thump of a rejected manuscript descending cheerlessly on to the mat can take…

October 1984:  Firemen inspect the shell of the Grand Hotel in Brighton, destroyed by an IRA sleeper bomb which was intended to kill Margaret Thatcher. Photo by Express/Express/Getty Images

Hilary Mantel’s fantasy about killing Thatcher is funny. Honest

27 September 2014 8:00 am

Heaven knows what the millions of purchasers of the Man Booker-winning Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies will make…

(Photo: The Art Archive/Anthony Stewart / NGS)

The thrill of the (postmodern neo-Victorian) chase

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Charles Palliser’s debut novel The Quincunx appeared as far back as 1989. Lavish and labyrinthine, this shifted nigh on a…

Nowhere to go but down

21 April 2012 10:00 am

I am just old enough to remember the terrific fuss that was made about the first Scots literary renaissance when…

Doomed to disillusion

7 May 2011 12:00 am

The Forgotten Waltz is one of those densely recapitulative novels that seek to interpret emotional crack-up from the angle of its ground-down aftermath.


Acting strange

11 September 2010 12:00 am

Reviewing Lindsay Clarke’s Whitbread-winning The Chymical Wedding a small matter of 20 years ago, and noting its free and easy cast and wistful nods in the direction of the Age of Aquarius, I eventually pronounced that it was a ‘hippy novel’.

Physical and spiritual decay

7 July 2010 12:00 am

The most striking thing about Piers Paul Read’s early novels was their characters’ susceptibility to physical decay.


Dogged by misfortune

17 March 2010 12:00 am

Unusually for a work of fiction, Tim Pears’ new novel opens with a spread of black-and-white photographs, part of an ‘investigator’s report’ into a fatal collision said to have taken place on a Birmingham dual carriageway in the summer of 1996.

Rural flotsam

21 October 2009 12:00 am

Notwithstanding’s suite of inter- linked stories draws on Louis de Bernière’s memories of the Surrey village (somewhere near Godalming, you infer) where he lived as a boy.

Transcontinental satires

1 July 2009 12:00 am

Jerusalem, by Patrick Neate

Trouble at the Imperial

6 May 2009 12:00 am

In the Kitchen, by Monica Ali

A master of drab grotesques

29 October 2008 12:00 am

Craven House, by Patrick Hamilton

Waves of geniality

2 July 2008 12:00 am

D.J. Taylor on the third volume of Jeremy Lewis's autobiography

The return of Kureishi-man

27 February 2008 12:00 am

D.J. Taylor reviews Hanif Kureishi's latest novel

Capturing the decade

23 January 2008 12:00 am

D. J. Taylor on the latest Granta collection

The fading of the Cambridge dawn

7 November 2007 1:29 pm

D. J. Taylor

War-war and jaw-jaw

10 October 2007 12:28 pm

D. J. Taylor

Trusty steeds and saucy varlets

8 August 2007 1:06 pm

Charlemagne and Roland
by Allan Massie

Too little, too late

8 March 2007 8:32 am

Aldous Jones, the hero of Gerard Woodward’s heroically odd third novel, has sunk into a decline. His wife dead, his…

Things falling apart

1 February 2007 7:11 am

Q: How to write imaginatively about the developing world? The old Naipaul-style methods of tragicomic ironising seem to be on…

Two stricken strikers

11 October 2006 5:20 pm

The most affecting moment in Gordon Burn’s new book is only marginally connected to its subjects. Borrowed from Jackie Milburn’s…

Laughing to some purpose

28 September 2006 10:39 am

As a late Seventies teenager, I was exposed to two distinct brands of American humour — or ‘yomour’ as it…

More than meets the eye — or not

12 July 2006 4:50 pm

Not long ago I listened to a Radio Two interviewer interrogating Kate Bush about her new album. The particular track…

Fragments of village life

31 May 2006 11:49 am

Listing page content here Brick Lane, Monica Ali’s first novel, sold a great many copies and was shortlisted for the…