A sombre Irish family saga — that glows in the dark

The Green Road is a novel in two parts about leaving and returning home. A big house called Ardeevin, walking…

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Anne Tyler Photo: Getty

Anne Tyler’s everyday passions

There was nothing remarkable about the Whitshanks. None of them was famous. None of them could claim exceptional intelligence, and…

The jilted bride

Charles Saatchi’s new book of photos makes me feel sick

Charles Saatchi, the gallery owner, has created his own Chamber of Horrors in this thick, square book, ‘inspired by striking…


The cruellest present you could give a hated old in-law

It takes a special sort of talent to be able to make drawings of your own 97-year-old mother on her…

Gustave Moreau’s vision of Cleopatra, 1887

Alexandria, by Peter Stothard - review

This subtle, mournful book is many things. It is a diary of three weeks spent, during the tense winter before…

It concentrates the mind wonderfully

It’s odd, but we mostly go about as if death were optional, something we could get out of, like games…

Blue Night by Joan Didion

This is a raw, untidy, ragged book. Well, grief is all of those things. On the other hand, Didion wrote…


The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses by Paul Koudounaris

In one Capuchin monastery in Sicily, the so-called Palermo Catacombs, locals used to buy a niche where their mummified corpse…

The death of laughter

If you were stranded on a desert island, Ruth Leon would be the perfect companion.

Death of the Author

The death of the Polish-born British novelist Joseph Conrad is the central event of David Miller’s debut novel.

Perchance to dream

This book reads like an interesting after- dinner conversation between intelligent friends.


The witch in the machine

If one asks Albanians who is their greatest living writer, the immediate answer is Ismail Kadare, winner of the inaugural Man Booker International Prize in 2005.


Dogged by misfortune

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.


Street eloquence

The title of Jon McGregor’s third novel derives from an anecdote told by one of the many vivid, dispossessed characters whose voices burst from its pages: Steve is a homeless ex-soldier who agrees to help deliver a lorry-load of aid to a Bosnian town, but is turned back on the grounds that ‘even the dogs’ there are dead.


It happened one summer

For those unfamiliar with Martin Amis’s short story, ‘What Happened to Me on My Holiday’, written for The New Yorker in 1997, it was a purist exercise in autobiographical fiction; not even the names were changed.