With consummate skill and subtlety John Williams not only brings Ancient Rome and the founder of its empire alive, but also shows how this alien world can illuminate our lives today.
This week’s New Statesman kicks off a seminal publishing season with reviews of new novels by the biggest names in British literature.
Novels by both authors seems to be creaking under the burden of researched fact and rehearsed message, but there was a time when their impulses flowed in the opposite direction.
In his new, Booker-longlisted novel, Joshua Ferris retains his title as the poet of the modern workplace, but his invented religion, Ulmism, proves to be a pretty dry excuse for a quest.
A painstakingly diligent new biography leaves Erica Wagner feeling relieved that the poet’s pornography collection is “almost entirely lost”.
The author and screenwriter Peter Jukes reviews two new exposés on the News of the World scandal.
Propped against a multitude of pillows in his dark bedroom, Proust maintained his connections with the outside world through a blizzard of letters.
Recent torture pornographers such as Eli Roth arguably have aligned themselves with 1970s American horror auteurs not only to legitimise their work but to cash in on their rebel credibility.
The sudden death of a woman’s father propels her into buying and training a goshawk – but then she starts to worry about her own identity.
Reading the books correlated with higher political tolerance, less predisposition to authoritarianism, greater support for equality, and greater opposition to the use of violence and torture.
With a new translation of Twilight of the Eastern Gods, Ismail Kadare is finally receiving the recognition he deserves in the English-speaking world.
With over 75 years of history, comics boast a multitude of inspirational female, black and even disabled characters. Superman is, at its heart, an immigrant tale, while X-Men is an allegory of the fight against fascism.
Although it won’t finally rank among his most accomplished works Murakami’s new novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, will be happily consumed by his fervent readers.
The authors argue that the west has no choice but to unfurl the banner of revolution again. The fiscal crisis and demographic changes have left treasuries creaking under the weight of debt.
A new poem for the New Statesman by Danny Abse.
Britain’s avian population is the most watched in the world – but new studies show nature in retreat.
From Nero’s decadent Golden House in Rome to Charles Fourier’s orgiastic French “courts of love”; public toilet glory holes to Eileen Gray’s sexy Mediterranean hideway.
Once married to the actress Peggy Ashcroft, Hutchinson was known be a dashing, lyrical figure liable to quote poetry.
War and the sound of our ancestral voices.
Leil Leibovitz’s elegant fan letter casts its net far wider than the usual rock biog. You will find as much here on the Talmud as on the NME and more about the Yom Kippur war than Glastonbury.
The author, critic and broadcaster writes two new poems - “Nature Programme” and “The Emperor’s Last Words” - exclusively for the New Statesman.
Michael Prodger reviews Sue Roe’s new book, which examines the decade between 1900 and 1910 that Montmartre rose to its rickety peak – home to every avant-garde artist of significance.
A timely collection of short stories from Swift, an author who has always held England’s landscape and England’s nature – in both senses of the word – close to his heart.
Exclusive new fiction for the New Statesman from a master of short-story writing.
Plus a new cartoon by Ralph Steadman to mark the centenary of the First World War.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury and lead NS book reviewer discusses a new biography of the Welsh poet and a new edition of his short stories.
Geoff Dyer likes to take down “dim-witted academics”. So what happened when he turned up at a conference on . . . Geoff Dyer?
Those expecting a rabble-rousing feminist anthem will be disappointed: the only F-words are fucking and fags, and Moran has nothing whatsoever to say about girls or how to build them.