sun 03/07/2022

book reviews and features

Best of 2021: Books

theartsdesk

“Duck! Here comes another year.” We can, I think, all empathise with the motions and emotions of Ogden Nash’s new year poem, “Good Riddance, But Now What?” Before, however, we bid a troublesome...

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The Holiness of Sex: Leonard Cohen's Biblical Theology

Harry Freedman

On hearing that I had recently written a book about Leonard Cohen, someone asked me why I thought Bob Dylan...

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Peter Robison: Flying Blind review – a story of decline and crawl

John Carvill

Thomas Pynchon’s saturnine '70s novel Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) begins with “[a] screaming [that] comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.”...

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Lucie Elven: The Weak Spot review - a cryptic modern fable

Izzy Smith

For most of us, fluttering our eyelids to convince a loved one to cook dinner is harmless meddling. Complimenting our boss on their new coat before asking for a promotion is necessary cunning. For...

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Sarah Moss: The Fell review - a dark night on the hills

India Lewis

Sarah Moss’s new novel is a slim snapshot of a moment of fear and danger in the year of Covid. That year when judgement and recrimination ruled, and neighbourly feeling was in short supply. It is...

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Claire Tomalin: The Young H.G. Wells review – days of the comet

Boyd Tonkin

In late 1894 an unknown 28-year-old science tutor and wannabe writer finished a story in his dismal lodgings just north of Euston station. Divorced, after a brief, calamitous marriage to a cousin...

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Devin Jacobsen: Breath Like the Wind at Dawn review – the disturbances of the Civil War

Jessica Payn

How do you imagine the wind at dawn? Biting, brisk, peremptory – a kind of summons as another day begins? 

For Les Tamplin, wife-beater, sheriff, father to three sons, it is a detective...

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Ruth Ozeki: The Book of Form and Emptiness review - where the objects speak

CP Hunter

“Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.” Ruth Ozeki’s latest novel takes its name from a Buddhist heart sutra...

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Mark Bould: The Anthropocene Unconscious review - climate anxiety is written everywhere

Jon Turney

Our everyday lives, if we’re fortunate, may be placid, even contented. A rewarding job, for some; good eats; warm home; happy family; entertainment on tap. Yet, even for the privileged, awareness...

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Stuart Jeffries: Everything, All the Time, Everywhere - How We Became Post-Modern review - entertaining origin-story for the world of today

Daniel Baksi

In his 1985 essay “Not-Knowing”, the American writer Donald Barthelme describes a fictional situation in which an unknown “someone” is writing a story.

“From the world of conventional signs...

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latest in today

Music Reissues Weekly: Ferkat Al Ard - Oghneya

Oghneya opens with the extraordinary “Matar Al Sabah.” Jazzy, with an overt Brazilian feel it gently swings and swoons....

Mick Jagger: My Life as a Rolling Stone review, BBC Two - th...

At the beginning of this film, Mick Jagger says: “What most...

The Making of Pinocchio, LIFT 2022, Battersea Arts Centre re...

Pinocchio is one of our most irreverent metamorphosis stories, and in this visually ingenious blend of...

The Undeclared War, Channel 4 review - how would the UK cope...

As the world lurches ever deeper into multiple manifestations of chaos,...

Katya Adaui: Here Be Icebergs review - odd relations

The title of Katya Adaui’s debut collection in English is taken from one of the 12...

Joe Lycett, Eventim Apollo review - prankster goes long-form

Joe Lycett’s career was on an upward trajectory when he took on hosting duties on The Great British Sewing Bee, and the crafting show...

The Bobby Lees, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham review - rock’...

In a week when all kinds of people were going bonkers over an octogenarian playing songs from over 50 years ago to tens of thousands of people in...

Album: Imagine Dragons - Mercury - Act 2

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” That’s the rule, right? Unless, of course, what happens is that you form a...

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