A lord of thin air

19 May 2012 11:00 am

Richard Davenport-Hines finds the author of Couples to have been a thoroughly singular man


Photo finish

19 May 2012 10:00 am

Christopher Isherwood kept diaries almost all his life. The first extant one dates from 1917, when he was 12, and…

Family get together 

5 May 2012 11:00 am

Mark Haddon is in what must sometimes seem like the unenviable position of having written a first (adult) novel which…


A polished fragment

31 March 2012 11:00 am

One evening nearly 40 years ago the world’s press descended on Patrick White in Sydney: they rampaged outside his house,…

Speeding along the highway

31 March 2012 10:00 am

Back in the Sixties, if you wanted a fruitful, freakout-free LSD experience, you might have called on Mrs Aldous Huxley…

… in the fall of a sparrow

31 March 2012 10:00 am

Set in Romania in the 1950s, this is the story of two people, Augustin and Safta, who are both very…

What was it all for?

31 March 2012 9:00 am

What happens to a novelist who becomes the conscience of a nation? Nadine Gordimer, who is now 89 and whose…

Memory games

24 March 2012 12:00 pm

I read this novel while convalescing from pneumonia. It proved admirably fit for purpose. A light diet, mildly entertaining and…


Hero of his own drama

17 March 2012 11:00 am

Sam Leith is enthralled by the larger-than-life genius, August Strindberg — playwright, horticulturalist, painter, alchemist and father of modern literature

Joy to the world

17 March 2012 10:00 am

Patrick Gale’s new novel could be read as a companion work to his hugely successful Notes from an Exhibition, and…

Enigma variations

17 March 2012 10:00 am

This is a novel full of hints and mysteries.  Why does the Dutch woman rent a house in rural Wales,…

Deviation and double entendre

17 March 2012 10:00 am

If there’s anything full-time novelists hate more than a celebrity muscling in on their turf, it’s the celebrity doing such…


Robot on the loose

18 February 2012 10:00 am

In December 2005, a passenger on an early-morning flight from Dallas to Las Vegas fell asleep. Woken by a steward…


Menace, mystery and decadence

11 February 2012 10:00 am

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


‘A world dying of ugliness’

4 February 2012 11:00 am

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

A choice of first novels

4 February 2012 10:00 am

Mountains of the Moon is narrated by a woman just released after spending ten years in jail. The reason for…

Chaos and the old order

28 January 2012 10:00 am

If Gregor von Rezzori is known to English language readers, it is likely to be through his tense, disturbing novel…

Questioning tales

7 January 2012 10:00 am

Tessa Hadley’s previous book, The London Train, was one of the best novels of last year, though overlooked by prize…


Poison Ivy

17 December 2011 9:00 pm

‘Who was she?’, a browser might ask on finding three re-issued novels by Ivy Compton-Burnett, and ‘Why should I read…

A gimlet eye

10 December 2011 11:00 am

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

Entry to the sacred grove

3 December 2011 11:00 am

Some readers may wonder if we need this book. Surely, the argument might go, one can summon up potted ‘lives’…

A literary curio

26 November 2011 11:00 am

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

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

5 November 2011 11:00 am

Jonathan Franzen. David Foster Wallace. Jeffrey Eugenides. Giant, slow-moving, serious writers, notching up about a novel per decade, all with…


Martin Amis: The Biography by Richard Bradford

5 November 2011 10:00 am

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

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

5 November 2011 10:00 am

In the 26 years since the publication of her highly acclaimed first novel, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, Jeanette…