Fleur Macdonald rss


Did Adnan Syed do it?

12 December 2014 16:21

I doubt most people would have been familiar with the relatively unremarkable murder of a Baltimore high school student by her ex-boyfriend in 1999. Until Serial started a couple of months ago.… Continue reading

Joan of Arc in an illustration from a 1505 manuscript

Ever wondered what Joan of Arc’s breasts were like? Wonder no more

12 November 2014 12:56

Just as she arrived a bit late to the Hundred Years War – about three quarters of the way through – Joan of Arc takes a while to appear in historian… Continue reading

Richard Flanagan, winner of the 2014 Man Booker.  Photo: BEN STANSALL/ AFP/ Getty Images

It’s about time a man won the Booker again

15 October 2014 11:55

I bet fifty quid on Howard Jacobson winning the Man Booker. My original bet was actually on a ‘Yes’ vote below 40 per cent in the Scottish referendum and Bet365 then gave… Continue reading


David Cronenberg’s Map to the Stars: threesomes, incest, a dead dog and whiny farts

1 October 2014 16:41

In a scene that sticks from Map to the Stars, David Cronenberg’s Grand Guignol of a Hollywood satire, Julianne Moore, playing an ageing Hollywood never-has-been, sits on the loo in… Continue reading


The book that turned me into Rod Liddle

27 June 2014 13:25

We all have what Andy Miller calls a ‘List of Betterment’: 50 or so books that, if read, would surely make us a better person – book clubs, gulp that… Continue reading


Locke: a great excuse to gawp at Tom Hardy’s lovely neck

30 April 2014 10:51

The ancients thought that the seat of female hysteria was the womb. My theory (just as credible) is that male charisma resides in the neck. The most magnetic films stars… Continue reading


Half of a Yellow Sun: only Freddie Forsyth and the Bodenesque tribalwear rescue this snoozefest

14 April 2014 15:52

I’m not one of those who automatically think the book’s better than the film. Efficiency is a good thing and if a film can successfully cram 500 pages into two… Continue reading

Old books, Getty Images

Stoner by John Williams – review

22 July 2013 10:41

Faced with a book as simple and true as Stoner, it’s easy to fall into the trap of intentional fallacy. It is the portrait of a quiet farm boy, who… Continue reading

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(Grzegorz Michaowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Cult fiction – Amity and Sorrow by Peggy Riley

14 May 2013 13:57

There’s an attraction, certainly, in joining a cult. Not a Sheryl Sandberg working women type cult but a good old fashioned we’re all in it together wearing hemp skirts type… Continue reading

Heavy Snow Fall Hits Southern England

The Gamal by Ciarán Collins – review

23 April 2013 10:15

My editor told me to read this book and write this review. Six hundred words, he said. Just like the psychiatrist Dr. Quinn instructed Charlie, the protagonist of said book,… Continue reading


Review – Invisible Romans, by Robert Knapp

5 March 2013 12:39

It’s tempting to reduce the Roman Empire to a roll call of famous men and their infamous deeds. The Republic toppled with Caesar on the steps of the senate; freedom… Continue reading

A publicity shot for the 2005 adaptation of 'Pride and Prejudice', starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. Image: Getty

What’s love got to do with it?

30 January 2013 15:56

In her Times column on Monday (£), Libby Purves valiantly attempted to fit together two things that were obviously on her mind. Discussing Pride and Prejudice, which is 200 years… Continue reading

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Is Rupert Murdoch the Darth Vader of publishing? Source: Getty

The Galactic Empire of Amazon

29 October 2012 15:04

I think that most people working in publishing think they’re involved in some giant role playing game. Rather than simply running around muddy fields on a Saturday, dressed in tin… Continue reading

Lena Dunham is making money by being a voice of a generation of women. Image: Getty.

Jobs for the girls

22 October 2012 13:34

Unless you’re a twenty-something year old woman, you probably have no idea who Lena Dunham is. Well you will soon. Until now Dunham’s cult followers have been downloading her HBO… Continue reading

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Richard Millet and the nihilism of multiculturalism

5 October 2012 14:10

It’s the last day of banned book week but perhaps we should spare a thought for banned editors. An editor at Éditions Gallimard, who worked on Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly… Continue reading

Nina Bawden with her husband Austen Kark

Nina Bawden dies age 87

22 August 2012 18:34

Author of classic children’s novel Carrie’s War and the Booker shortlisted Circles of Deceit, Nina Bawden has died today aged 87. Apart from writing over forty novels for adults and children,… Continue reading

The Belalp Witches Ski Race, Switzerland

Across the literary pages: Jeanette Winterson

20 August 2012 16:24

The fanfaronade for Ian McEwan’s latest book Sweet Tooth, a seventies spy novel tantalisingly based on his own life and featuring a cameo from Martin Amis, has begun ahead of… Continue reading

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Teleportation Accident

Blast from the past: The Teleportation Accident reviewed

17 August 2012 11:41

He’d probably agree with Edward Gibbon’s assessment of history as ‘little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind’ but Ned Beauman’s instinct as to why… Continue reading

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Will Self

Across the literary pages: Will Self special

13 August 2012 16:51

The inclusion of Will Self on the Booker long list was like a flashing neon sign pointing towards ‘Serious Literature’ and away from last year’s much criticised populism. In a… Continue reading

Army Chief Of Staff Gen. Odierno Swears In Recruits In NYC's Times Square

All-American heroes

31 July 2012 13:21

Whatever Mitt might think, if there’s one thing that makes us proud to be British, it’s the fact we’re not American. Alright, it’s true we don’t have a black president… Continue reading

The Duk Ling  junk sails by the Hong Kon

Across the literary pages: Pankaj Mishra

30 July 2012 16:12

An easy, sure-fire way of generating a bit of publicity is picking a fight with a provocative public intellectual. Rather than criticising Bernard-Henri Lévy’s blow-dry, or kicking David Starkey in either… Continue reading

US army Iraq, Getty Images

Across the literary pages

16 July 2012 17:45

Any idea what an Ouroboros is? It’s not the name of the cloud hanging over London at the moment but, according to Will Wilkinson, in his review of Joseph Stiglitz’s… Continue reading

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We need to talk about Jacob, and his dad

10 May 2012 8:12

No matter what anyone might say, no one ever really likes other people’s children. Now, it seems, we’re not even sure if we like our own. Culturally, children became a… Continue reading


The importance of sex

8 May 2012 8:29

Last time I made an off the cuff comment calling a book chick lit, I realised the skill involved in making an apology sound genuine, rehabilitating an entire literary genre… Continue reading

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Funny women

4 April 2012 9:22

The disappointment of second place at the Dionysiac festival might have been easier to bear had Sophocles known his Oedipus would eventually give credibility to a slew of neuroses and… Continue reading

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