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In The Critics this week

D J Taylor on the art of the rock lyric, Ryan Gilbey on Tom Cruise and Tom McCarthy on the postwar E

In this week's Critic at Large essay, D J Taylor pays tribute to some of the greatest practitioners of the rock lyric, including Howard Devoto, Mark E Smith and Cathal Coughlan. In a companion piece, Jude Rogers sticks for up for a younger generation of lyricists -- from Joanna Newsom's nature poetry to the comic demotic of Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner.

Elsewhere, Ryan Gilbey reviews Knight and Day, the new Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz vehicle, and wonders whether Cruise is committing career suicide. Rachel Cooke is bemused by the BBC's new high-concept drama The Deep, Antonia Quirke listens to a Stephen Sondheim Prom, Fisun Güner examines the work of the photographic pioneer Camille Silvy and Will Self dines at the Stockpot with Nicholas Lezard.

In Books, Ziauddin Sardar is unpersuaded by Tariq Ramadan's new plea for pluralism. Stuart Evers interviews Tom McCarthy about his new novel (which will be reviewed in the next issue of the NS) and the state of British fiction, Jonathan Derbyshire is impressed by James Robertson's state-of-Scotland novel, And the Land Lay Still, Ruth Sunderland considers some remedies for banking failure, Colin MacCabe remembers a friend and former colleague, the critic Tony Tanner, and Sarah Churchwell reviews Francine Prose's exploration of the "afterlife" of Anne Frank's diary.