Justin Cartwright


Owen Sheers disregards the first commandment of novel-writing: to show, not tell

This is a thriller, a novel of betrayal and separation, and a reverie on death and grieving. The only key…

Giotto’s ‘The Kiss of Judas’ in the Scrovegni Chapel, Padua

Justin Cartwright on redheads, anti-Semitism and the betrayal of Christ

Peter Stanford is a writer on religious and ethical matters. He was for four years editor of the Catholic Herald.…

Philip Marsden gets close to the impenetrable secrets of Tintagel (left) and Bodmin Moor (right), among many other mysterious sites

The bonkers (and not-so-bonkers) theories of what the pre-historic people of Cornwall believed

Philip Marsden’s book is about place. He makes a distinction between place and space. In his mind ‘place’ is something…

American abolitionist John Brown believed in armed revolt to end all slavery Photo: Getty

The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride - review

James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird is set in the mid 19th century, and is based on the real life…


There's a corner of South Africa that considers itself French

A corner of South Africa’s Cape that wants to be forever France

Justin Cartwright’s Diary

Too often, I go to South African theatre with a sense of foreboding: I anticipate something overwrought, tendentious, poorly acted…

The tragedy of a hamlet

Jim Crace’s novels have one thing in common, which is that each is set in an entirely original world. None…

A Barista’s Pupil

Can just anyone learn to make a perfect cup of coffee?

Welcome to surreal Luton

Nicola Barker’s new novel is set in Luton. You could hardly find a place in Britain  more emblematic of non-being.…

Putting the fun in fundamentalism

Turnaround Books, the publishers of Timothy Mo’s remarkable Pure, are revealed to operate from Unit 3, Olympia Trading Estate, Coburg…

Road to ruins

This is a delightful book, nostalgic, slyly witty, perceptive and at times flirting — deliberately — with old fogeyism. Tom…

Mumbai and Mammon

This is a state of the nation novel or more accurately a state of Mumbai novel.


Justin Cartwright opens his Diary

When the best defence is no defence

This remarkable book is the account by their lawyer of the trial, imprisonment and sentencing to death in the late Eighties of a group of young men who came to be known as the Delmas Four.


Positively Kafkaesque

This is a companion to a collection published earlier this year of Nadine Gordimer’s non-fiction, called Telling Times.


Taking on the turmoil

Nadine Gordimer is now in her mid-eighties. For as long as I have been alive, she has been the towering figure of South African literature, a fact recognised in l991 by the Nobel committee. This is a collection of her non-fiction over 60 years, running to nearly 800 pages.


A canker on the rose

This is a very short book with large type.


Decline in New York

A connection between poetry and blindness is a classical trope.

The man who saved Oxford University

As the controversial Dr Hood stands down as vice chancellor, those of us who resented his attempts to modernise should offer him our heartfelt apologies, says Justin Cartwright

To be mortal

The Infinites, by John Banville

Zuluboy is here

South Africa’s Brave New World: The Beloved Country since Apartheid, by R. W. Johnson
After the Party: Corruption and the ANC, by Andrew Feinstein

My memories of the American Dostoevsky

Justin Cartwright recalls his conversations over the years with John Updike, who died this week, and the master’s contention that the only excuse for reading is to steal

Christmas Short Story

When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas
by Justin Cartwright

The coven reconvenes

The Widows of Eastwick, by John Updike

Who is selling what to whom?

Powers of Persuasion: The Story of British Advertising by Winston Fletcher