Leo Robson opens the Critics' section this week with a double review of Sebastian Faulks's latest book, a not particularly successful attempt at literary criticism according to Robson, and Linda Grant's morality tale for the generation that grew up in the early seventies, We Had It So Good, which though extremely readable is grammatically all over the place.
Norman Lebrecht examines the intriguing parallels between the lives of the composers Maurice Ravel and George Gershwin in another dual review of two major new biographies.
Russell Stannard enjoys an informative overview of theories on the creation of the universe. Emily Hill salutes a long overdue translation of a series of fairy tales by Russia's greatest living author, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya.
Rebecca Abrams is impressed by Simon Sebag Montefiore's "ambitious" and "courageous" historical portrait of Jerusalem. Our Critic at Large this week, Nina Caplan tries to separate her love of François Truffaut from that of his films, and looks at his legacy in the run up to a new retrospective of his work at BFI Southbank.
Ryan Gilbey praises Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest film Biutiful, and gives a cautious tip for Javier Bardem to take a Best Actor Oscar. Andrew Billen is underwhelmed by Becky Shaw, a Pulitzer Prize shortlisted comedy at the Almeida.
Rachel Cooke finds Andrew Neil's look at public school political dominance on BBC2 to be winningly polemical and just slightly tinged with envy. Tom Ravenscroft looks at an emerging new wave of bands from America.
Antonia Quirke is charmed and a little bewildered by polyglot Moroccan radio. Will Self is caught between the thundering rhetoric of The Communist Manifesto and the dulcet siren tones of the online dating network eHarmony.