Books & Reviews

Sunday, 21 August 2011

US writers struggle to out-imagine Sept 11

2011-08-21 TEN years later, and Americans' imaginations still are catching up to Sept 11, 2001. "I don't think art can 'compete' with something like 9/11," says Jess Walter, whose post 9/11 novel The Zero was a National Book Award finalist in 2006...

Obama's brother in Shanghai to promote bio-novel

2011-08-21 PRESIDENT Barack Obama's half brother attended this year's Shanghai book fair, where he signed autographs and promoted his semi-autobiographical novel Nairobi to Shenzhen organisers said on Thursday. Mark Ndesandjo works as a consultant in the...

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Long Goodbye - A Memoir of Grief by Meghan O'Rourke

2011-08-14 THERE are people who insist that grief is ennobling. "You will come out of it a better person," they say, their hand softly upon your shoulder. But this is complete rot, of course. Maybe you will become a more compassionate person, in the...

Ex-spy writes about his old profession

2011-08-14 DUNN, who was a field officer in the British Secret Intelligence Service, often known as M16, has created a plot with plenty of action and lots of twists and turns in Spycatcher. Unfortunately, he has to step aside and explain things in the manner...

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Achdiat Mihardja - author of Atheis

2011-08-07 ATHEIS (The Atheist) is a masterpiece of the Indonesian literary history. The novel was published in 1949 and written by Achdiat Karta Mihardja, an Indonesian author of the 45 generation, a generation that was creative around and after the...

Sunday, 31 July 2011

George RR Martin's fantasy is not far from reality of modern world

2011-07-31 A WEALTHY dynasty brought to its knees by popular revolt, the highest in the land caught in a web of corruption, and at the heart of it all a powerful woman with remarkable hair. If you see the Murdoch clan, Chipping Norton set and Rebekah Brooks in...

Can fantasy ever tell the truth?

2011-07-31 THERE is nothing wrong with escaping reality now and again. A finely crafted escapist fantasy can be a thing of joy and beauty. However, an unfiltered diet of escapist fantasy blockbusters can be unhealthy. As master anti-fantasist M John Harrison...

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Lee Child wins crime novel of the year award

2011-07-24 THE British creator of the All-American hero Jack Reacher has won the 2011 Theakstons Old Peculier crime novel of the year award with the 14th instalment in his bestselling series, 61 Hours.Speaking after Thursday's award ceremony, which opened the...

Extracts from Idylls of the Sea

2011-07-24 FRANK T Bullen is in the crow's nest, that observation platform high above the mainsail, at dawn. "At such a time, specially if the heavens be one stainless concave of blue, the advent of a new day is so overwhelming in its glory that the soul is...

'My Father's Fortune' wins top prize for autobiography

2011-07-24 CELEBRATED for his plays, novels and journalism, Michael Frayn's first work of memoir, My Father's Fortune, has been rewarded with the PEN/Ackerley prize, the UK's only dedicated award for autobiography.My Father's Fortune saw off competition from a...

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Alastair Campbell Diaries, Vol 3

2011-07-17 JOHN Colville, Winston Churchill's private secretary, went riding at the height of the second world war; his boss went off to the cinema. Harold Macmillan, when prime minister, decamped to Scotland for weeks each August to go grouse shooting. The...

Sunday, 10 July 2011

New crime novel co-written by 26 authors

2011-07-10 IT'S the literary world's version of consequences: from Alexander McCall Smith to Kathy Reichs, 26 bestselling crime writers have teamed up to create the multi-authored mystery No Rest for the Dead. The authors who also include Raymond Khoury, RL...

Writer risks death in the afternoon

2011-07-10 THE pavement outside a tapas bar in London's Old Brompton Road is a far cry from a bullring in Spain.But that doesn't stop British writer, actor and amateur matador Alexander Fiske-Harrison from leaping to his feet mid-conversation and demonstrating...

Sunday, 19 June 2011

JK Rowling's Pottermore site sparks rumours of a new novel

2011-06-19 HARRY Potter fans have been sent into a frenzy of excitement after the creator of their favourite wizard, JK Rowling, launched a mysterious new website.The website, Pottermore.com, currently only shows the word "Pottermore" on a pink background,...

Sex selection - rise of Generation XY

2011-06-19 IN 1979 China signed a US$50m four-year deal with a UN body designed to help it control its spiralling population through family planning. It was the largest foreign aid package Beijing had accepted in almost 20 years.But the funds became entwined...

Sunday, 5 June 2011

James Daunt: 'I don't recognisethat books are dead'

2011-06-05 JAMES Daunt is not an open book. He is a shy, confident, personable, highly literate ex-investment banker in his late 40s who, next month, will become the new managing director of Waterstone's and, arguably, one of the most important people on the...

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Digging deep into Golding's life

2011-05-15 IN A long-forgotten review of a long-forgotten book, Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell, the much-racked William Golding wrote: "We walk among the layers of disintegrating coral, along the straggling line of 'brown sea-wrack, dizzy with...

20 unpublished stories of Anthony Burgess found

2011-05-15 br />AT LEAST 20 unpublished stories by Anthony Burgess, the author of A Clockwork Orange, have been discovered by researchers sorting through his papers at a research centre in Manchester, the city in which he was born.The short stories,...

Sunday, 1 May 2011

On caring for our ageing parents

2011-05-01 ON THE day after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, after helping cover that story for The New York Times, an exhausted Jane Gross was finally able to drop by the nursing home a few miles (kilometres) north of ground zero where her mother had just moved to...

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Mortenson's dizzying fall from grace

2011-04-24 THE troubled world of book publishing has become almost wearily accustomed to receiving yet more bad news of a critically acclaimed memoir that turns out to have been partly or entirely fabricated.The works of James Frey, J T LeRoy (aka Laura Albert...

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