“To tell her own story, a writer must make herself a character. To tell another person’s story, a writer must make that person some version of herself,…
The Rittenhouse trial is a chance to think about how political narrative works. This is separate from the rights and wrongs of what happened. What we a…
I have been waiting to read Jane Ridley’s next book ever since I read Bertie: A Life of Edward VII nine years ago. Royal biography is a strange genre. …
Old book reviews are amazing: their analysis is so thin and they more or less refuse to explain a book rather than to judge it. The New York Times revi…
Last week it was twenty years since the poet Elizabeth Jennings died. She was hugely popular — but is somewhat forgotten now. To mark her anniversary, …
What a waste of time it was to read this sack of clichés. The opening scene has Deborah Levy shopping on Shoreditch High Street only to find herself be…
Fergus has an excellent essay ‘Against Alcohol’. It’s a review of David Nutt’s new book, (which I haven’t read). Fergus gives a detailed summary of Nut…
We are used to thinking about the nineteenth century or the Victorian period. But those boundaries are artificial. The world wasn’t very different in 1…
Don’t read this book. Anyone who pays serious attention to Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont ought come away from it feeling less able to cope with their li…
Shortness is an aesthetic quality. This is not because short books are more concise, work better for certain sorts of subjects, encourage taut plots, o…
According to Queeney, by Beryl Bainbridge
Time was I would be able to go the National Gallery on my lunch break and watch repeats of Frasier while I dealt with the post in the mornings. Sometim…