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Category Archives: review

Applause for thought?

Midori Goto’s violin recital in Colombo, reviewed. (Along with half the audience.) – For the Sunday Times (SL)

Ducks and cover

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann Galley Beggar Press, £14.99, pp1020 . Why, I asked some months back, in these pages, do the protagonists in American fiction these days seem so lost? What is it they’re all so het up about? Well… everything. At least according to the narrator of Ducks, Newburyport. Lucy Ellmann’s monster novel [...]

Hit and miss

Chastise: The Dambusters Story 1943 By Max Hastings William Collins £25 . By 1943, after nearly four years of war ‘ameliorated [only] by a thin gruel of successes,’ Britain and her western allies had little to boast in terms of their offensive victories; the lion’s share of the burden was very clearly being shouldered by [...]

The future starts… in Brighton

Review of John Higgs’ The Future Starts Here: Adventures in the Twenty-First Century. – For Geographical

Black samurai

Yasuke: The True Story of an African Samurai by Thomas Lockley and Geoffrey Girard Sphere £20 (hardback) . In late July 1579, an enormous, well-dressed and well-armed African bodyguard stepped off a boat into the southern Japanese port of Kochinotsu. Yasuke – perhaps from ‘Isaac’ in Amharic – had (probably) been abducted as a child [...]

Out and aboutpost

Outpost: a journey to the wild ends of the earth by Dan Richards Canongate £16.99 (hardback) . Imagination fired by a picture of his father outside an Arctic shed, artist and writer Dan Richards sets off in search of places that ‘allow mankind a foothold in otherwise inhospitable terrain’. Icelandic ‘houses of joy’ (not what [...]

Ivory-tower thinking

Review of Future Cities: Architecture and the Imagination, by Paul Dobraszczyk. – For Geographical

All good things must come to an end

Some Trick: thirteen stories by Helen DeWitt New Directions, £22.95, pp.197 Certain American States by Catherine Lacey Granta, £12.99, pp.190 Hostages by Oisín Fagan Head of Zeus, £8.99, pp.269 Notes from the Fog by Ben Marcus Granta, £12.99, pp.266 The Abyss and Other Stories by Leonid Andreyev Alma Books, £8.99, pp.315 . Only Helen DeWitt [...]

The tour of Babel

Review of Gaston Dorren’s Babel: Around the World in 20 Languages. – For Geographical

Great Man history

On Andrew Roberts’ Churchill: Walking with Destiny. – For The Oldie