Books

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Reviews

The Sweetness Of Life, by Paulus Hochgatterer, trans. Jamie Bulloch

A slow-burn thriller that exposes the seedy underbelly of the Austrian Alps

Inside Reviews

Glamour: A History, By Stephen Gundle

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

A substantial book about an insubstantial, yet somehow fascinating, topic

Consolation, By James Wilson

Monday, 28 July 2008

A haunting Edwardian ghost story of speaking spaniels and scarlet fever

Audio book of the week: The Beckoning Lady by Margery Allingham

Sunday, 27 July 2008

As amateur sleuths go, Albert Campion is not as posh as Lord Peter Wimsey nor as forensically deductive as Sherlock Holmes. Tall, fair, thin, bespectacled and, when occasion demands, surprisingly athletic, he is as comfortable in the company of old lags as he is with gently declining aristocrats: above all, he is coolly unflappable.

In the Bath, By Tim Fitzhigham (Rated 3/ 5 )

Sunday, 27 July 2008

What can you say about a man who sets to sea in a bath? Being unkind, it's the sort of comic caper that suggests an imminent rendezvous with Jeremy Clarkson; a grandiose lunge at absurdity that's actually monstrously dull. Fortunately, while Tim Fitzhigham may be halfway to Clarkson via a Richard Hammond quote on his book's jacket, the story of how he spent two summers trying to be the first person to row the English Channel in a bath is actually rather absorbing.

Democracy: Crisis and Renewal, By Paul Ginsborg (Rated 5/ 5 )

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Democracy is in crisis, suggests Paul Ginsborg. Although, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been an increase in the number of countries belonging to the United Nations which can be "broadly defined as democratic" (120 out of 192 by 2000), he argues that the quality of democracy has sharply declined and the nature of politics has changed. This book, which uses the work of Karl Marx and John Stuart Mill as a backdrop, feels more in tune with the kind of active, engaged political process people are increasingly being deprived of.

The Fat Plan, By Glen Neath (Rated 3/ 5 )

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Characters in novels often enter strange worlds by way of an invitation. It speaks volumes for Glen Neath's second novel that his unambitious, overweight narrator finds his invitation written on a piece of card attached to a lamppost: "Want to earn your ideal wage every week, but don't want to work from home?" As embarkation points go, it's hardly Alice's rabbit hole.

Fishing in Utopia, By Andrew Brown

Sunday, 27 July 2008

The memoirs of a Briton in Sweden reveal a flux in the identity of that most individual of countries

The Long-Player Goodbye, By Travis Elborough

Sunday, 27 July 2008

An absorbing study of the life (and death) of vinyl – until we get to John, Paul, George and Ringo, that is

Graphic novels: A timely rediscovery of Hawke

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Amid the summer's cinematic cage-rage championship of Wanted, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, we're probably due a reminder of the silent virtues, as well as the virtuous silence, of the comics medium.

The Impostor, By Damon Galgut

Sunday, 27 July 2008

The past resurfaces in this poetic South African novel

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Columnist Comments

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hamish_mcrae

Hamish McRae: Don't despair over house prices

So what's to be done about the mortgage famine?

mark_steel

Mark Steel: Why do the unions keep handing over money?

Where unions have defied the trend and grown has been where they're seen to be defending the workforce

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