There may be an unknown somebody even more wonderful

The smartphone is like having a singles bar in one’s pocket 24/7

An American stand-up comedian Aziz Ansari, who usually performs in Los Angeles and New York, has found time to conduct…

Passionate Reunion

Not quite romantic fiction, or literary fiction, or commercial fiction – but still quite good

Elements of Raffaella Barker’s new novel, her eighth for adults, suggest commercial fiction: a narrative that oscillates between the aftermath…

One Night in Winter, by Simon Sebag Montefiore - review

Simon Sebag Montefiore’s One Night in Winter begins in the hours immediately following the solemn victory parade that marked the…

Group portrait of the Du Maurier sisters with their dog Brutus by Frederic Whiting (1918). From left to right: Daphne, Jeanne and Angela

'Mimi', by Lucy Ellmann - review

Harrison Hanafan is a plastic surgeon in New York. Every day, he slices and stitches deluded women, reshaping healthy flesh…

Finding Mr Wright

The film When Harry Met Sally may be infamous for the scene in which the heroine mimics orgasm in a…


The start of the affair

In this season of Franzen frenzy, spare a thought for André Aciman, an American writer whose name, I think, is so far unmentioned in the daft pursuit of the Great American Novel.


The French connection

If ever there was a novel to which that old adage about not judging a book by its cover could be applied, it’s this one.

Frustrating but enjoyable

If we didn’t already know that Milan Kundera is one of Craig Raine’s literary heroes, then it wouldn’t be too hard to work it out from his first novel.


Her own best invention

Lesley Blanch, who died in 2007 aged almost 103, did not want this book written.

The ex factor

At first, the plot of Nick Hornby’s new novel, Juliet, Naked, seems too close to that of his first novel, High Fidelity (1995).

Rich pickings

Delicious is a word that keeps coming to mind as one reads Jane Gardam’s new novel.

Dilly-dallying romance

Constable in Love, by Martin Gayford

For better, for worse

Love Stories, edited by Diana Secker Tesdell In Bed With: Unashamedly Sexy Stories by Your Favourite Women Novelists, edited by Imogen Edwards-Jones, Jessica Adams, Kathy Lette and Maggie Alderson

The life of the heart

Love’s Civil War: Elizabeth Bowen and Charles Ritchie, Letters and Diaries from the Love Affair of a Lifetime edited by Victoria Glendinning, with Judith Roberts

His own best biographer

Byron in Love, by Edna O’Brien


Love between the lines

Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell,
edited by Thomas Travisano and Saskia Hamilton