Fiction

The Spectator Podcast: is Boris the man?

17 May 2019 15:12

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Is that man Boris? And if it is, what still stands in his way?…

Spectator competition winners: the facts of life according to Dumbledore

22 April 2018 11:55

The call for lessons in the facts of life courtesy of a well-known character in fiction sent many of you…

Spectator Books: Ultima

12 April 2018 17:32

In this week’s Books Podcast, I’m talking to the historian Lisa Hilton about the latest in her series of what…

Our verdict on this year’s Man Booker International Prize longlist

12 March 2018 15:49

The longlist for the Man Booker International Prize for fiction – judged by a very impressive panel headed by Lisa…

A h(a)ppy ending for Nicola Barker – a true experimentalist

17 November 2017 13:10

Nicola Barker has just won the Goldsmiths Prize for experimental fiction with her new novel H(a)ppy. She earned it. If…

What our critics thought of the books on the Man Booker shortlist

13 September 2017 16:39

The Man Booker shortlist is out. My colleague Philip Hensher isn’t convinced. He today tweeted ‘Booker shortlist – McGregor, Z…

Nadine Dorries’s book is a surprise bestseller

5 June 2014 17:49

Nadine Dorries’s novel, Four Streets, may have been unilaterally panned by the critics, with the Telegraph’s Christopher Howse labelling it…

Elizabeth Jane Howard 1923 – 2014

3 January 2014 9:07

The novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard died yesterday at the age of 90. She is most famous for the series of…

Man Booker prize shortlist 2013 - how was our tipping?

10 September 2013 12:28

One of Philip Hensher’s many qualities as a critic is that he doesn’t take prisoners. So his entertaining and judicious…

Interview with a writer: Jhumpa Lahiri, author of Booker longlisted The Lowland

9 September 2013 9:30

The Lowland is the magnificent new novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, which has been longlisted for this year’s Man Booker prize.…

Rosh Hashanah reading list

5 September 2013 9:57

Happy New Year! No, it isn’t three months’ early if you’re Jewish, and those of you who aren’t might like…

Bookies following Philip Hensher’s Booker shortlist

4 September 2013 12:22

The Guardian notes that Ladbrokes and William Hill share Philip Hensher’s hunch for the Booker shortlist, which is to be…

Hitler’s missed opportunity: failing to smash the rock of Gibraltar

3 September 2013 11:37

It may be that only geological erosion, expected to occur sometime over the next ten million years, will finally remove…

What if Byron and the Shelleys had live tweeted from the Villa Diodati?

2 September 2013 13:38

It’s one of the most famous – indeed infamous – episodes in English literary history. In the summer of 1816…

My holiday from reading books is to read them as Caxton intended

29 August 2013 10:30

On hearing that Easy Jet had changed its hand luggage allowance, two questions struck me. First, was the airline in…

Losing Your Mind – The Novel That Induces Insanity

28 August 2013 10:30

Nobody wants to go mad. We try to live healthy lives so that we won’t die slowly of lung cancer…

How long until novels are published with video inserts?

27 August 2013 10:30

In Charlie Kauffman’s Bafta lecture (a startlingly honest reflection on film writing, and well worth a listen), the screenwriter, producer…

Review: In Times of Fading Light by Eugen Ruge – a tale of rebellion and conformity

21 August 2013 15:30

In Times of Fading Light’s seven narrators exist in an almost permanent state of bewildered disappointment. Given that the narrators…

Elmore Leonard

On borrowing Elmore Leonard

20 August 2013 16:59

When you walk into a new branch library, or stumble across an unfamiliar secondhand bookshop, which writer do you look…

The week in books – a 19th century career woman, the courtesan of the camellias, Vasily Grossman and why France is turning into the USA

16 August 2013 13:40

The forecast is bad. Football is back. Gloom strikes. Cure the malaise by reading the book reviews in this week’s…

‘Ballistics’ by D.W.Wilson is a novel about what it really is to be a man

14 August 2013 10:34

Ballistics is the debut novel from D W Wilson. It playfully and interestingly twists and pulls at the heart of…

A book you must read: Berlin Noir, the Bernie Gunther saga

7 August 2013 15:32

One of the givens in detective fiction these days is that the sleuth should be deeply flawed. You almost expect,…

Roddy Doyle: I’m a middle class person commenting on working class life

6 August 2013 13:09

Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958. He first came to prominence with his debut novel The Commitments, which…

Plato – slave-owning aristocrat or homosexual mystic?

30 July 2013 15:45

For over two millennia, the writings of Plato had been at the very core of a Western education. Yet  by…

Some brilliant book reviews

26 July 2013 15:06

As ever, the Spectator carries some splendid and erudite book reviews this week. There are contributions from stellar writers and…