I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

World Literature

Sacred Egoist

The Italian critic and editor Roberto Calasso enjoys a considerable reputation among the literary-critical elite, but how much substance or originality is there in his anti-rational musings?

The Big D

Christopher Hitchens was famously sceptical of the claims of religious thinkers, yet faced with dying he exhibited a defiant faith in the capacities of medical science to block the course of nature, a faith not sustained by much evidence.

Neither Here Nor There

Sherman Alexie writes of the lives of Washington state’s native Americans, who frequently do not feel quite at home either in Seattle or in the Indian reservations where many of them have roots.

Made in China

Dave Eggers’s beautifully written new novel offers a melancholy and dreamlike portrait of America in decline.

Weimar Stories

The German-Dutch writer Hans Keilson reached a new English-speaking audience when his novels from the 1930s were reissued. This rediscovery came when Keilson was 100.

Madwomen in the Attic

A novelistic exploration of Miss Havisham before Dickens got hold of her irresistibly recalls Jean Rhys’s brilliant work in the classic prequel genre.

Dispatches from the Island

Jonathan Franzen inextricably links writing to survival, to that which sustains life and keeps boredom and demise at bay.


Barbara Kingsolver presents a story of American rural life in which ecological concern is balanced with a fine feeling for the texture of actual lives.

Island Sickness

Long divided, Argentines finally found national unity under the leadership of the continent’s most murderous regime and its campaign to retake the Malvinas.

The Inside Man

An unorthodox, non-doctrinaire leftist, Gore Vidal tended to make would-be political allies uncomfortable and was not an easy individual with whom to make common cause.