thu 09/02/2023

book reviews and features

My Enemy's Cherry Tree: Wang Ting-Kuo review - a masterpiece from Taiwan

Katherine Waters

Early every evening, Miss Baixiu comes to sit in an isolated café. She is the daughter of Luo Yiming, the respected employee of a successful commercial bank in charge of loans throughout central...

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Ali Smith: Spring review – green shoots, dark fears

Boyd Tonkin

Stopped in the street for a vox pop by a BBC interviewer keen to “fill your air” with strife and bile, a character in Spring retorts that “there’s a world out there bigger than Brexit,...

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Karl Ove Knausgaard: So Much Longing in So Little Space review – smiles more than screams

Boyd Tonkin

Around the works canteen, a dozen huge wall-paintings depict, in bright cheerful colours spread across radically stylised forms, happy scenes of women and men at work and play beside a sunlit sea...

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David Hepworth: A Fabulous Creation review - how vinyl soothed our souls and defined our being

Liz Thomson

Record Store Day is now a fixture on the calendar, a key element in “the vinyl revival”, and this year – 13 April –...

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Fiona MacCarthy: Walter Gropius review - a master of modernism

Marina Vaizey

The centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus (literally, “Building House”) art school is on us, prompting publications and exhibitions worldwide. Subtitled “Visionary Founder of the Bauhaus”,...

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Robert Menasse: The Capital review - much more than just an EU satire

David Nice

Forty years ago this July, Simone Veil gave her inaugural speech as first President of the European Parliament. She had many issues to include. Peace came first; as a survivor of Auschwitz and the...

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Sadie Jones: The Snakes review - lacking feeling

Katherine Waters

Bea and Dan are a young married couple. They have a mortgage on their small flat in Holloway and met while out clubbing in Peckham. She’s a plain-looking, modest and hard-working psychotherapist;...

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George Szirtes: The Photographer at Sixteen review – how grief becomes art

Boyd Tonkin

How long does it take for grief to crystallise into art? No timetable can ever set that date. The poet George Szirtes’s mother took her own life, after previous attempts, during the hot summer of...

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Sam Bourne: To Kill the Truth review - taut thriller of big ideas

Marina Vaizey

Great libraries burning, historians murdered: someone somewhere is removing the past by obliterating the ways...

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Richard J Evans: Eric Hobsbawm - A Life in History review - mesmerisingly readable

Marina Vaizey

This is an astonishing book: in its breadth, depth and detail and also in its almost palpable, and sometimes unpalatable, admiration of its...

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Catherine Cohen, Brighton Komedia review - songs and New Yor...

Catherine Cohen made quite an impact at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe, where she won best newcomer in the Edinburgh Comedy Awards for The Twist?...

Les Rencontres de Bamoko, Mali review - imagining another fu...

During morning and evening rush hour, Bamako seizes up under the pressure of all the cars, motorbikes, trucks and buses, bringing the three...

Album: You Me At Six - Truth Decay

It would seem that we’ve been overdue a dose of that awkward teens years nostalgia as all three of Fall Out Boy, Paramore, and their UK Emo/Pop-...

The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow r...

The Brian Jonestown Massacre has been described as many things over the years, but lazy cannot be one. Whilst...

Dmitri Alexeev, Leighton House review - shadows and light fr...

You can brush aside any problems septuagenarian pianists may have in the toughest repertoire, especially if they give you more than glimpses of...

Linck & Mülhahn, Hampstead Theatre review - problems as...

With the total loss of its Arts Council funding,...

Town of Strangers review - a whimsical foray into the meanin...

“They say there are only two stories,” explains ...

Album: Amber Arcades - Barefoot On Diamond Road

In this context, what’s named “diamond road” is a metaphor for staying on course rather than, as the lyrics of the song “Diamond Road” put it,...

Eliza Carthy and The Restitution, Barbican review - folk at...

Eliza Carthy has been busy, as she always has. Recording various albums with various artists during the pandemic, her show with her band, The...

Fabienne Verdier, The Song of the Stars (Le chant des étoile...

I have wanted to visit the Musée Unterlinden in Colmar for many years: the home of Matthias Grünewald’s masterpiece, the Isenheim Altarpiece (1512...

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