Things I Don’t Want to Know, by Deborah Levy - review

22 June 2013 9:00 am

In her powerful rejoinder to Orwell’s 1946 essay ‘Why I Write’, Deborah Levy responds to his proposed motives for writing…


Consolations of the Forest, by Sylvain Tesson - review

15 June 2013 9:00 am

In this book, the French writer Sylvain Tesson spends six months, mostly alone, in a log cabin in Siberia. ‘Cold,…

Memoirs of a Leavisite, by David Elllis - review

15 June 2013 9:00 am

As the author of this wise, patient and delightful book wryly reminds us, Stephen Fry — who, of course, knows…

Photographs are reproduced courtesy of Ronald Blythe

A Time by the Sea, by Ronald Blythe - review

15 June 2013 9:00 am

I first encountered Ronald Blythe at Benton End, a glowing oxblood farmhouse above the river Brett, poised on the edge…

Liverpool, Merseyside, 1951

How do you define a 'northerner'?

8 June 2013 9:00 am

No one seems to agree on what characterises a ‘northerner’, says Philip Hensher, and Paul Morley’s latest book leaves us none the wiser

Gustave Moreau’s vision of Cleopatra, 1887

Alexandria, by Peter Stothard - review

8 June 2013 9:00 am

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

Jacob Barnett.

The Spark, by Kristine Barnett - review

8 June 2013 9:00 am

Jacob Barnett is a youthful prodigy. His IQ tested off the scale. At nine he began work on an original…

This Boy, by Alan Johnson- review

8 June 2013 9:00 am

This Boy is no ordinary politician’s memoir, still less a politician’s ordinary memoir. It ends where others might begin: when…

The Last Train to Zona Verde, by Paul Theroux - review

1 June 2013 9:00 am

Paul Theroux has produced some of the best travel books of the past 50 years, and some of the lamest.…


Holloway, by Robert Macfarlane - review

11 May 2013 9:00 am

This is a very short book recording two visits to the hills around Chideock in Dorset.In the first Robert Macfarlane…


In a Greene shade

26 May 2012 4:00 pm

One of the unanticipated benefits of British rule in India is the body of distinguished writing in the English language…

Cracks in the landscape

19 May 2012 10:00 am

Sartre tried to prove that hell is other people by locking three strangers in a room for eternity and watching…


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

The Devil in the mirror

31 December 2011 10:00 am

As a kid growing up in Scotland in the 1950s, Dennis O’Donnell was aware of ‘loonies’, and the men in…

Don’t mention the war

10 December 2011 10:00 am

It wasn’t easy being the daughter of the artist Avigdor Arikha. In this memoir, Alba Arikha mixes teenage fury with…

Settling old scores

10 December 2011 10:00 am

As a boy, Brian Sewell was unimpressed by opera but enraptured by pantomime which, he reveals in Outsider, sowed in…

… in the battle for London

26 November 2011 11:00 am

Charlatan, fornicator, liar, inebriate, pugilist, Marxist, anti-Semite; Ken Livingstone has been called many things but never a writer. Actually, that’s…

Blue Night by Joan Didion

12 November 2011 10:00 am

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


Bookends: The showbiz Boris Johnson

29 October 2011 11:00 am

Amiability can take you a long way in British public life. James Corden is no fool: he co-wrote and co-starred…

Fun-loving feminist

16 July 2011 12:00 am

How to be a Woman is a manifesto memoir.

Casualties on the home front

16 July 2011 12:00 am

War correspondents aren’t like the rest of us: they can’t be.

Wool of bat and lizard leg

16 July 2011 12:00 am

When Julia Blackburn and her Dutch husband Herman move into an old village house perched on a cliff high above the Italian Ligurian Riviera they become part of a dwindling community in a landscape of forests and deserted villages with roofless ruins almost swallowed up by the riotous undergrowth.

Sense and magnanimity

9 July 2011 12:00 am

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


The worst crime was to be a bore

2 July 2011 12:00 am

Gully Wells is a spirited and amusing writer, the daughter of the American journalist Dee Wells and the stepdaughter of the famous philosopher Freddie Ayer.

Backs to the wall

28 May 2011 12:00 am

Susan Gibbs begins her book by describing the death from cancer of her first husband after 13 years of happy marriage.