Book Review: A Shed of One’s Own, by Marcus Berkmann

Mar 14

Just as Virginia Woolf’s room for women was not a real room, so Marcus Berkmann’s shed for middle-aged men is a metaphor. The problem with middle age, he feels, is that the detritus of modern life offers little mental respite. He worries about money (“Envy recedes, like a hairline, but the worry doesn’t”), about his looks, about...

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Jon Ronson – The Psychopath Test

Oct 16

It starts with something of a shaggy-dog story, this one. A psychiatrist contacts him asking for help in explaining a mysterious 42-page book called Being or Nothingness she has been sent, full of cryptic verse, pictures, and pages which have been cut out. Many leading psychiatrists and academics around the world, have been sent this book...

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Book Review: Aravind Adiga, Last Man in Tower

Jul 27

In the space of just a few years, Aravind Adiga has become the foremost chronicler of Indian life. It’s often repeated, but is so because it’s true: in terms of method and subject, Adiga is the closest the modern age has to Dickens. Their central theme is the same, which is why Dickens’ own country could not produce a similar writer...

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Book Review: Edward St Aubyn, At Last

Jul 26

Edward St Aubyn’s At Last is the culmination of the acclaimed Patrick Melrose saga. The aristocratic Melrose first appeared in 1992’s Never Mind as a five-year-old boy sexually abused by his tyrannical father. Later novels have featured him as a 22-year-old, a 30-year-old, and most recently, in Mother’s Milk, a...

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Book Review: I am a Chechen! German Sadulaev

Jul 26

What seems a very long time ago, a large nation invaded a small Muslim country, slaughtering civilians and its rag-tag resistance. The world tutted and shrugged its soldiers. The country fought back through a campaign of insurgency marked by the rise of Islamist extremism, suicide bombings and the killing of innocent civilians. The world...

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Book Review: Out of the Ashes, Tim Albone

Jul 26

‘It is a cliché but to them it really is more than sport. Afghanistan has something to prove. They are playing for their very identity and to change the way the world perceives them. What better way to change people’s perceptions than through cricket?’ (p.82). * This is the companion book to an extraordinary 2010 documentary made...

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