It's all very well to be a bit bicurious but not to cynically treat us like guinea pigs. Photo: Getty
No, going lesbian for a year is not an acceptable hobby
By Eleanor Margolis - 19 September 12:44

No matter how much depth and nuance there may well be between the covers of Lesbian For a Year, the book’s premise is damaging and dreary.

A polluted beach in Alabama during the BP oil spill disaster of 2010. Photo: Kari Goodnough/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Steven Poole on Naomi Klein: Could climate change action rejuvenate worldwide democracy?
By Steven Poole - 18 September 13:27

In her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism v the Climate, Naomi Klein provides a vividly reported and densely researched argument for how our future should look.

The Beyond the Fringe team, 1960: (l-r) Peter Cook, Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller, Dudley Moore. Photo: John Hedgecoe/TopFoto
From the the culturally conservative Fifties to the Swinging Harold Wilson Sixties
By Andrew Marr - 18 September 9:48

Writing the history of the recent past is not easy, but David Kynaston’s artful collage technique manages to draw us into a time that can feel like it belonged to another world.

Medieval philosopher-savant Roger Bacon. Engraving by R Cooper, print by Agidius Sadelam. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
John the Pupil by David Flusfeder: a novel of quiet suggestion and unobtrusive cleverness
By Tim Martin - 18 September 9:41

David Flusfeder’s novel John the Pupil follows three students of the medieval philosopher-savant Roger Bacon who make a secretive journey from England to the seat of the papacy at Viterbo.

Blood never lies: our fascination with forensics is fuelling the boom in cold case crime fiction
Digging up the dead: investigating the cold case crime narrative
By Leo Robson - 18 September 9:38

While the cold case thriller owes its life to new techniques such as DNA profiling and new disciplines such as forensic anthropology, the genre’s practitioners vary in their degree of commitment to these origins.

Naples.
Reviews round-up | 17 September
By New Statesman - 17 September 17:00

The critics’ verdicts on Ian McEwan’s The Children Act, A N Wilson’s Victoria: A Life and Elena Ferrante’s Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay.

No longer just the Blade Runner: since the death of Reeva Steenkamp, Oscar Pistorius’s story has become “a classic tragic hero’s fall”. Photo: Getty
We are drowning in stories that privilege the perspectives of white males
By Glosswitch - 16 September 12:42

Women’s bodies – naked, airbrushed and objectified – are everywhere but our names, passions and histories remain invisible. Too often, women are reduced to a footnote in the tragic story of someone male who still gets to take centre stage.

Warner's new book is set in 1980s student London. Photo: Gwydion M Williams/Flickr
A literary Withnail and I: Alan Warner’s Their Lips Talk of Mischief
By Yo Zushi - 15 September 12:41

The latest novel by the author of Morvern Callar is set in a boozy, 1980s student London.

Jack's fine lad: Tom Priestley in his London flat, photographed in August 2014. Photo: Felicity McCabe for New Statesman
Out of the wilderness: how J B Priestley is enjoying a revival
By Valerie Grove - 15 September 10:03

As a “grumbling and growling” columnist for the NS, J B Priestley inspired the formation of CND. Now, 30 years after his death, his only son tells Valerie Grove why his once neglected work is making a comeback. 

A mind for crime: Agatha Christie at home, 1949. Photo: Popperfoto
Mark Lawson: inside the business of Agatha Christie Ltd
By Mark Lawson - 12 September 16:13

The death of an author doesn’t necessarily mean the death of their characters. Hercule Poirot is the latest sleuth to come back for an encore. 

The guts to fight the power: Roxane Gay. Photo: Jennifer Silverberg/The Guardian
Does it matter if you’re a “bad feminist”? Roxane Gay doesn’t think so
By Helen Lewis - 12 September 12:52

Reading Roxane Gay comes as a relief – as being involved in feminism can sometimes feel more like voluntarily climbing into the stocks than participating in a social movement.

Good Knight: French actors perform during a rehearsal of Excalibur at the Stade de France, September 2011. Photo: Getty
Beyond the Round Table: celebrating the underdogs of Camelot
By Amanda Craig - 11 September 10:00

Beneath the romping humour and fast pace in this book is a plea for the shy, feminine, humane and deviant to be understood and valued.

Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth: Ruth Padel's new collection deals with religion in the Holy Land. Photo: Getty
Style over substance: three poets’ attempts to master their form
By Paul Batchelor - 11 September 10:00

However long a poet struggles to establish a style that answers the questions of form, voice, tone or subject haunting his imagination, the real work begins after the discovery is made.

The great contender: Brando at his parents' home in Illinois in 1951. Photo: Art Shay/The Life Images Collection/Getty
Marlon fishing: was Brando really brain as well as brawn?
By Christopher Bray - 11 September 10:00

Susan Mizruchi considers Brando a kind of one-man UN. Alas, she also unwittingly demonstrates how elitist and dictatorial her putative freedom fighter could be.

Pay up: a banner outside St Paul's Cathedral during the Occupy London protests. Photo: Rex/Matt Lloyd
Risky business: Peter Wilby on Owen Jones’s The Establishment
By Peter Wilby - 11 September 10:00

Jones is excellent on how the state, supposedly rolled back, has just changed its nature so that, as big as ever, it has become a creature of capital, controlled by the corporate sector.

The Post Office.
Reviews Round-up | 9 September
By Critic - 09 September 14:00

The critics’ verdicts on Owen Jones’s The Establishment, James Meek’s Private Island and Emily Mackie’s In Search of Solace.

Man Booker Prize 2014 shortlist announced in full
By Critic - 09 September 11:07

Chair of judges A C Grayling announced the six shortlisted books at a press conference in London this morning.

Suit you, sir: to his adoring young fans, Savile, pictured on the set of Top of the Pops circa 1973, represented wacky style and wish fulfilment. Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images
How Jim fixed it: the strange, dark life of Jimmy Savile
By Rachel Cooke - 04 September 12:20

It is impossible to look back on the world of light entertainment in the Savile era and not come to the conclusion that it was strikingly weird.

Art and its double: Frances Wilson on “How to Be Both” by Ali Smith
By Frances Wilson - 03 September 10:33

Ali Smith’s new novel How to Be Both is dizzyingly good and so clever that it makes you want to dance.

Reality bites: Mark Lawson on “Shark” by Will Self
By Mark Lawson - 03 September 10:14

Will Self’s latest novel is a hard read, but it rewards the attention demanded.

Battle of Stamford Bridge (1870) by Peter Nicolai Arbo/Private Collection/Photo © O Væring/Bridgeman Images
1066 and all that: Eimear McBride on “The Wake” by Paul Kingsnorth
By Eimear McBride - 03 September 10:12

In The Wake, Paul Kingsnorth delicately loops the multifarious layers of English history together.

The novelist David Mitchell. Photo: Mary Andrews/Guardian/IDS
Stitches in time: Olivia Laing on “The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell
By Olivia Laing - 03 September 9:44

The pleasure for the reader of David Mitchell’s novels lies in the comforting sense that there might after all be a pattern to the random data of the everyday.

Howard Jacobson finally won the Man Booker Prize in 2010 for “The Finker Question”. Photo: Getty
If you think you know Howard Jacobson, prepare to be disappointed
By Ian Sansom - 03 September 9:41

The author’s new novel J confounds one’s expectations but confirms Jacobson’s reputation.

In Jeff VanderMeer’s trilogy, explorers research the lush and dangerous ecosystem of Area X. Photo: De Agostini/Getty Images
The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer: Intricate, complex and surprising
By Neel Mukherjee - 03 September 9:38

Can we imagine morality on the scale of the human species as a whole?

The woman on the first floor: Lionel Shriver on “The Paying Guests” by Sarah Waters
By Lionel Shriver - 03 September 9:30

In Sarah Waters’ new novel she shows herself to be a dab hand at conveying the immediacy of the past with no whiff of mothballs.

Poet Philip Larkin with Monica Jones.
Reviews round-up | 2 September
By New Statesman - 02 September 12:20

The critics’ verdicts on David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks, Will Self’s Shark, and a new biography of Philip Larkin by James Booth.

The politician and his playmaker: Tony Blair and Alex Ferguson in 1996. Photo: Steve Eason/Getty
Pitch perfect: the ten football matches that changed the world
By John Bew - 31 August 11:11

Jim Murphy’s book combines a blokey ethos with a serious tone, and includes the Eton-smashing 1883 FA Cup final, the 1943 Spanish Cup semi-final and Robben Island’s  “Makana League”.

Accidental Narratives
By Jack Underwood - 31 August 10:45

A new poem by Jack Underwood. 

Dazzling in the desert: Dubai skyline. Photo: Getty
Lost in Dubai: Joseph O’Neill’s Booker Prize-longlisted new novel
By Leo Robson - 29 August 16:22

Although the book has no plot to speak of, it keeps extending false hope, writes Leo Robson.

Funny business: the novelist Miriam Toews. Photo: Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty
Funny, defiant and furious: the tangled tale of two sisters
By Jane Shilling - 29 August 16:08

In Miram Toews’s new novel, the ability of literature to act as an antidote to despair is tested to the limit.

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