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.

August tale: the emperor's story sheds light on our lives and those of ancient others
The thinker’s dictator: Emperor Augustus makes for thrilling fiction
By John Gray - 29 August 15:55

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.

In the New Statesman this week: Autumn Fiction Special
By New Statesman - 28 August 17:08

This week’s New Statesman kicks off a seminal publishing season with reviews of new novels by the biggest names in British literature.

SS officers including former Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss (second from left) relax at Solahütte, a resort near the concentration camp, 1944. Photo: courtesy US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Too much information: how scientists and historians captured the brains of Amis and McEwan
By Leo Robson - 28 August 16:22

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.

Dentist.
Banal retentive: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
By Philip Maughan - 28 August 15:30

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.

Larkin and his close companion Monica Jones at John Betjeman’s funeral, 1984. Photo: Getty
A life more ordinary: salvaging Philip Larkin’s reputation
By Erica Wagner - 28 August 10:04

A painstakingly diligent new biography leaves Erica Wagner feeling relieved that the poet’s pornography collection is “almost entirely lost”.

Crash and burn: Colin Myler, last editor of the News of the World, closes the paper in 2011. Photo: Tom Stoddart/Getty
Other people’s voicemail: how phone-hacking became the news
By Peter Jukes - 26 August 12:29

The author and screenwriter Peter Jukes reviews two new exposés on the News of the World scandal. 

Temps perdu: a 1900s Paris street scene. Photo: Getty
Bouquets and billets-doux: letters from Proust to his neighbour
By Jane Shilling - 26 August 12:07

Propped against a multitude of pillows in his dark bedroom, Proust maintained his connections with the outside world through a blizzard of letters.

Song
By Emily Berry - 22 August 12:16

A new poem by Emily Berry. 

It's only a movie: horror films may claim cultural relevance but their main appeal is shock or terror
Blood money: how the market affects what horror makes it to Hollywood
By Yo Zushi - 22 August 12:13

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.

Let us prey: a 1955 image of a hawk catching a rabbit in the snow. Photo: Getty
Raptor enrapture: the story of a life saved by falconry
By Philip Hoare - 22 August 12:04

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. 

Hocus pocus: props on the Harry Potter set at the Warner Bros Studio Tour London. Photo: Gettty
Magic effect: how Harry Potter has influenced the political values of the Millennial generation
By Anthony Gierzynski - 19 August 10:56

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.

Chinese relations with the Soviets shaped the communist world during "de-Stalinisation", shaping too Kadare's period in Moscow
“A treacherous climate”: Ismail Kadare’s cold years in Moscow
By Robert Macquarie - 19 August 10:00

With a new translation of Twilight of the Eastern Gods, Ismail Kadare is finally receiving the recognition he deserves in the English-speaking world.

Get your geek on: crowds on the way into San Diego Comic-Con 2013. Photo: Getty
Where’s Wonder Woman? How comic book diversity has failed to translate to the big screen
By Karen Yossman - 18 August 16:38

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. 

A local train in Japan: Murakami's new novel concerns a malaise-filled Japanese railway engineer. Photo: Getty
Strange, stark and sentimental: Haruki Murakami’s winning fictional formula
By Randy Boyagoda - 18 August 15:07

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.

Bill Clinton at a rally in 1996, the year he declared that “The era of big government is over”. Photo: Getty
Honey, I shrunk the government: a paean to the virtues of the small state
By George Eaton - 18 August 11:39

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. 

First World War Hero
By Dannie Abse - 18 August 10:54

A new poem for the New Statesman by Dannie Abse.

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