Ultimate issues

In his preface to this anthology of brief memoirs, Robert Silvers suggests that its ‘invisible, tragic core’ is to be…


The family plot

Sam Leith explores the effect that certain writers’ relatives have had on their published works


Menace, mystery and decadence

Richard Davenport-Hines on the seamy side of interwar Alexandria, as depicted by Lawrence Durrell


Bookends: Short and sweet

Before texts and Twitter there were postcards. Less hi-tech, but they kept people in touch. Angela Carter (pictured above) and…


‘A world dying of ugliness’

Philip Hensher on the marvellous, brutal, excoriating letters of the novelist Joseph Roth


The heart of Hemingway

A new biography of ‘Papa’ has deeply impressed Sam Leith, although its thoroughness — like its subject — ‘teeters on nuts’


The truest man of letters

Geoffrey Wheatcroft continues to mourn his friend John Gross on the first anniversary of his death

A gimlet eye

We should be grateful to families which encourage the culture of writing letters, and equally vital, the keeping of them.…

A serenely contented writer

Beaming Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE, D.Litt. (Oxon), Mark Twain medallist and co-founder of the Hollywood Cricket Club (1881-1975), personified…

What’s going on?

An early sentence in this collection of stories, first published between 1979 and the current issue of Granta, runs thus:…

A literary curio

Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac, better known as Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), the son of French-Canadians spiced with the blood of Mohawk…

A man who quite liked women

It is noticeable that the kind of young woman that a clever public man most likes talking to is intelligent…


Art Books: A sumptuous tour

In 1930 Evelyn Waugh, already at 27 a famous novelist, spent two days in Barcelona. He came upon one of…

AfterWord edited by Dale Salwak

‘Conjuring the Literary Dead’ is the sub-title of this outlandish, sometimes beguiling book. Its editor, Dale Salwak, coaxed 19 writers…


Martin Amis: The Biography by Richard Bradford

Sam Leith is disappointed that our most famous living novelist remains an enigma


The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume II, 1941-56, edited by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck

The die was miscast from the start, more’s the pity. As we reach the halfway point in this massy four-volume…

Sense and magnanimity

People see William Rees-Mogg as an archetypal member of the Establishment.