Jane, the Fox and Me by Fanny Britt, Isabelle Arsenault31 Mar 2014 23:31:38
Strictly speaking, Jane, the Fox & Me is intended for younger readers: it's published by the ever-brilliant Walker Books, home of Anthony Horowitz and Patrick Ness. However, this is a graphic novel so well drawn and beautifully told, I'm certain it will speak to adults, too – especially if you've only to think of your school days for your stomach to flip over. It's a collaboration between Quebec playwright Fanny Britt and award-winning illustrator Isabelle Arsenault, and I found it painfully evo... Read Full Story
The Poets' Wives by David Park31 Mar 2014 23:30:47
The thorny relationship between art and life is probed powerfully by David Park in three absorbing novellas depicting the lives of the wives of three poets, and moving ambitiously from 18th-century London to 1930s Moscow, to contemporary Ireland. These are poets who suffer for their art, who are at odds with society. We meet William Blake's wife, Catherine, at a time when society scorns him; Nadezhda, the fascinating wife of Russian poet Osip Mandelstam, who was killed during Stalin's regime; an... Read Full Story
You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz31 Mar 2014 23:29:53
If you're a successful couples therapist, secure in your happy marriage to a quietly heroic paediatrician and about to publish a book called You Should Have Known, which berates women in failed relationships for ignoring their partners' faults, it's a pretty safe bet that dramatic irony will force you to swallow some of your own bitter medicine before too long. For Grace Reinhart Sachs, the heroine of Jean Hanff Korelitz's fifth novel, the blow is delivered when one of the mothers at her son's e... Read Full Story
News about Fifty Shades of Grey movie28 Mar 2014 00:26:52
Studio Universal screened scenes for journalists and cinema owners at the annual CinemaCon event in Las Vegas yesterday, with reports suggesting there could be little in the way of erotic tension on show when the movie hits cinemas next year. Stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, who play kinky billionaire Christian Grey and his willing, well-remunerated "sex-slave" Anastasia Steele, were mostly seen "making moon-eyes at each other", suggested attendees.
The Hollywood Reporter labelled the foo... Read Full Story
The most profound writer of horror stories in XX century28 Mar 2014 00:24:36
For Peter Straub, he's the 20th century's "most profound writer" of horror stories, terrifying readers with tales of haunted houses and creepy dolls, zombies and vampires. But Robert Aickman has never enjoyed a readership which extends beyond the cult. Now the literary publisher Faber & Faber is hoping to change all that, as it prepares to mark the late author's centenary year by bringing a selection of his long out-of-print novels back on to shelves.
The press is planning reissues of Aickman's... Read Full Story
The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle by Kirsty Wark28 Mar 2014 00:19:14
Nonagenarian Elizabeth Pringle, a lifelong resident of the island of Arran, bequeaths her house to a virtual stranger. Years back Elizabeth was captivated by the sight of a holiday visitor from mainland Scotland, Anna Morrison, passing with a baby in a pram: a long-haired, blithe, hippyish mother, and a singing child. Anna, on impulse, asked Elizabeth to tell her if she was ever thinking of selling her home. Decades pass. Elizabeth never forgets the mother and baby – for reasons revealed late in... Read Full Story
Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid26 Mar 2014 23:40:57
So instead of reading gothic romance, for example, Catherine Morland reads Twilight; instead of letters brought in by maids, they post on Facebook, and so on. These aren't short stories or exercises in style; they are full-length novels, months of work from busy authors at the top of their game. The book itself is perfectly diverting; it follows the original plot very closely, and it is funny and brilliantly written. People who think of McDermid as a dark, intense writer will have a much lighter... Read Full Story
Overwhelmed by Brigid Schulte26 Mar 2014 23:40:09
Brigid Schulte (pictured) calls this "the overwhelm". The Washington Post reporter's engaging book – which is by turns a pop science explainer, self-help guide and subtle feminist polemic – aims to discover why some of us feel there simply aren't enough hours in the day. She sympathises: juggling family and career, and feeling guilty about neglecting both, she is "scattered, fragmented, exhausted". Not only is she doing too much – she feels she should always be doing more.
It is a common sentim... Read Full Story
The Secret Life of Sleep by Kat Duff26 Mar 2014 23:39:14
And afloat we soon are, still on the internet's infinite, provenance-free sea of reference, where accredited sleep scientists and "dream researchers", scientific studies and personal anecdote, can all bob about together. The going is a little sluggish, for the posts/chapters are loosely arranged and repetitive. Sometimes, too, there is a dramatic anti-science lurch, as when Duff confesses that she "has no way of knowing for sure" whether her uncle, in intensive care some miles away, "actually ca... Read Full Story
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler16 Mar 2014 21:20:43
Rosemary Cooke, a quiet college student, grew up with her sister Fern and her older brother Lowell. Both, however, have long since vanished from her and their parents' lives. You have to wait until page 77 for the explanation for their disappearance, but it's not too hard to work it out for yourself – Rosemary grew up in the 1970s, and her father was a psychology professor at Indiana University. "Psychologists," she tells us, "didn't leave their work at the office. They brought it home. They con... Read Full Story
The French Intifada by Andrew Hussey16 Mar 2014 21:19:57
Back in central Paris, under cafe awnings far from the périphérique, the road that divides the white bourgeois capital city from its new citizens, I asked many French intellos why such a film shouldn't be made. They proved unwilling to discuss the subject. I was half-French, I knew the culture, and should be aware why it couldn't be done. "It's so complicated," a friend said, passing to the more pleasant subject of where to have dinner.
Andrew Hussey teaches at the University of London Institut... Read Full Story
A Quiet Word by Tamasin Cave, Andy Rowell16 Mar 2014 21:18:41
This would certainly constitute "a quiet word", the title of a book by two activists who have sought to shed light on the shady world of the lobbyist. There are three main concerns about lobbying. Should it have to exist at all? Surely a healthy democracy should find other vehicles for influencing the debate? To which the simple answer would be: life isn't perfect and you should use every (legal) vehicle at your disposal.
The more convincing objection is the lack of transparency. Here the autho... Read Full Story