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.

Kevin Stevens

‘I Gave Them a Sword’

The Watergate affair and the cover-up that brought down Richard Nixon

Virtue Unrewarded

Jonathan Franzen’s America is a place of insecurity and confusion.

The Sly Masquerade

For quality of output, for growth and longevity, for the honesty and intensity of his narrative voices and for the relentless quest for forms that would make sense of his and his country’s experience,

An Ordinary Evil

‘Game of Thrones’ is ubiquitous in our culture, yet two-thirds of millennial Americans do not know what Auschwitz is. A new study of Josef Mengele reminds us that we do not live in a world of sorcerers and dragons but one in which ordinary people are capable of unimaginable evil.

The Necessary Details

As Robert Caro tells us in what may be the greatest political biography of modern times, President Lyndon Johnson marshalled incredible resources, including a willingness to lie, cheat and steal at the highest level, in the service of an ambitious and noble programme of reform.

Connoisseur of Foolishness

Today’s bulbous literary novels are remarkably tolerant of longueurs, asides and arbitrary disquisitions, says Thomas McGuane. That can be their virtue. Not so short stories. Short stories share some of the traits of poetry, which could scarcely tolerate the liberties of novels.

No Hope of an End

Nicole Krauss has made her mark with fiction that is technically daring, emotionally vibrant, and unafraid of the largest subjects. She is fresh and individual but knows from where she comes. Her most recent novel has Philip Roth’s influence all over it, while Kafka’s shade hovers in the background.

The Usual Terror

Don De Lillo seems to suggest in his new novel that literature has failed us, failed to correct the inadequacy of language or interrupt the downward curve of history. Yet that implication is denied by the work, not just by the consolation of philosophy but by the joy of his near faultless craft.

Body And Soul

Ta Nehisi Coates contends that white supremacy is a force so fundamental to America that it is difficult to imagine the country without it. Marilynne Robinson argues that moral revival, though its results are never enough, is also central to the American tradition and that we should not despair.

Invitation to the Dance

Over twenty-four years, starting in 1951, Anthony Powell wrote a remarkable series of a dozen novels exploring English upper class and bohemian life from soon after the First World War to the 1970s through the themes of war, love, art, class, family, politics and death.