wed 01/02/2023

book reviews and features

'I let it emerge': an interview with Fiona Benson on the cusp of the TS Eliot Prize announcement

Jack Barron

Fiona Benson’s new collection of poems, Ephemeron (Jonathan Cape, 2022), tries to capture those things that are always moving out of grasp. It does this through four sections: the first...

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Jaan Kross: A Book of Falsehoods review - plague, power and deception in 16th century Tallinn

David Nice

When the first volume of Estonian master Jaan Kross’s peerless historical trilogy first appeared in an English...

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Best of 2022: Books

theartsdesk

From Kafka’s spry sketches to Derek Owusu’s novel-poem, and Jaan Kross’s Estonian Wolf Hall to Katherine Rundell’s spirited biography of John Donne, our reviewers take the time to share...

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10 Questions for writer and translator Saskia Vogel

Hannah Hutching

Johanne Lykke Holm’s spellbinding novel Strega recounts one teen’s journey into womanhood....

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Bob Dylan: The Philosophy of Modern Song review - a book that contains multitudes

mark Kidel

Some years after Chronicles (2004) a book that broke moulds and delighted with its originality, and as with albums...

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Kelefa Sanneh: Major Labels review - diary of an omnivorous musicophile

India Lewis

Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres is American critic Kelefa Sanneh’s ambitious survey of musical history. As such, it risks remaining only a...

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10 Questions for Bruce Lindsay, biographer of Ivor Cutler

Sebastian Scotney

Ivor Cutler: A Life Outside the Sitting Room by Bruce Lindsay, is the first full-length...

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Patrick Duff: The Singer review - agony and ecstasy of a rock'n'roll life

mark Kidel

As our favourite rock stars become elders, there has been a steady flow of autobiographies, some ghosted, some...

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Patti Smith: A Book of Days review - adding to Insta's debris

Hugh Barnes

On April Fool’s Day, in 1978, the godmother of American punk, Patti Smith, jumped offstage at the Rainbow Theatre in...

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Derek Owusu: Losing the Plot review - the finest perfume

Harriet Mercer

Derek Owusu’s debut That Reminds Me won the Desmond Elliot Prize in 2020. When asked what it was that she loved most about Owusu’s semi-autobiographical 117-page book, Preti Taneja, chair...

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latest in today

Two Billion Beats, Orange Tree Theatre review - lively, but...

Do the right thing! But doing the right thing isn’t easy – especially if you are a teen. And a female teen who is being pressurised by your mother...

January review - the end is nigh in vampirised Bulgaria

At their best, horror movies reflect destabilisation caused by cracks in the social fabric. The crack indicated in the documentarist Andrey...

Album: Lisa O'Neill - All of This Is Chance

Lisa O’Neill is a part of the new wave of Irish contemporary folk artists, one that encompasses the likes of Lankum, Ye Vagabonds...

Leonskaja, Staatskapelle Streichquartett, Wigmore Hall / Sec...

It’s dangerous to claim a sense of absolute rightness about a musical performance; that could mean no more than responding to an interpretation...

Othello, Lyric Hammersmith review - Frantic Assembly's...

Frantic Assembly’s Othello, originally co-developed with the Lyric in 2008, is back in its third iteration, and it’s still not...

Blu-ray: The War Trilogy - Three Films by Andrzej Wajda

Watching these harrowing films in rapid succession allows us to watch a great...

Ólafsson, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - spirit of delight

This concert was advertised as the completion of an Elgar symphony cycle, though in the absence of the reconstructed Third, that meant the second...

Sound of the Underground, Royal Court review - loud and triu...

Ever been to a queer club? You know, drag cabaret night at Madame Jojo’s, or the Black Cap or Her Upstairs. No? Well, not to worry – the...

Gerhardt, BBC Philharmonic, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manche...

Ben Gernon’s calm and clear way of conducting an orchestra (something he once told me he’d observed in the work of his mentor, Colin Davis) is...

Album: Robert Forster - The Candle and the Flame

Reflections on how the past relates to now suffuse The Candle and the Flame. The album’s closing track is “When I Was a Young Man.” When...

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