The latest on books and the arts

RSS

More dynamite: Naomi Klein photographed for the New Statesman, October 2014. Photo: Kalpesh Lathigra
Naomi Klein: “I view free-market ideology as a cover story for greed”
By Sophie McBain - 24 October 17:39

The Canadian author and social activist on parenthood, people power and why climate change could be the ultimate opportunity for the left.

Lovecraft peopled his mythical realms with slippery, palpitating cretaures to escape a worse prospect – a human world. Illustration by Sean Phillips
John Gray on the moral universe of H P Lovecraft
By John Gray - 24 October 17:01

John Gray explores the philosophy of horror created by American writer H P Lovecraft.

Chloe Grace Moretz and Keira Knightley in action.
Introducing the Woman-Child: the continuing death of adulthood in American culture
By Lisa Schwarzbaum - 24 October 14:58

The cinema of amusing male arrested development has been a familiar subgenre for some time, but recent releases demonstrate that there’s gold to be found in femme floundering.

Photo: James Cridland/Flickr
The Berries
By Kathleen Jamie - 24 October 11:55

A new poem by Kathleen Jamie. 

Only in dreams: a panel from Charles Burns's dazzling graphic novel Sugar Skull
Fevers and mirrors: the surreal graphic novels of Charles Burns
By Neel Mukherjee - 24 October 11:44

Green, one-eyed men, a chubby, disfigured dwarf, writhing worms with humanoid faces, aborted foetuses and vast, white eggs with red jigsaw patterns on them.

"Lonely House, Fetherd". Photo: Anna & Michal/Flickr
Sweet nothings: Colm Tóibín’s study of domestic grief
By Frances Wilson - 24 October 11:42

Nora Webster is the tale of a woman inside a house. It’s a small house in a small town in Ireland, in the late 1960s and Nora, recently widowed, lives here with her two teenage sons and her daughters who, like the house, are semi-detached.

Into the woods: branches piled up on a hide in Hesse, one of Germany's most heavily forested regions. Photo: Jan Stradtmann
Peace to the forest, a place of ways unknown
By John Burnside - 24 October 11:27

The forest was where a traveller could become lost for ever and lose his rational bearings, as in the Arthurian tale of the Forest of Beguilement, a place, as Spenser puts it, full of “wayes unknowne”.

He's a lumberjack... A man in Ukraine goes to chop wood. Photo: Getty
I used to chop logs like a man. Now I stay in bed and it’s exhausting
By Nicholas Lezard - 24 October 11:16

Nicholas Lezard’s Down and Out column. 

Storm of swords: detail of Rego's unsettling pastel drawing Our Lady of Sorrows (2013). Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art. Photography by Prudence Cumming Associates
Beautiful grotesque: the “dark play” of Paula Rego
By Michael Prodger - 24 October 11:11

Rego’s latest fairy-tale visions give terror a face – but their deepest secrets remain hidden from view  

In the Frame: Hallowe’en Costume Ideas
By Tom Humberstone - 24 October 10:42

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

A woman in China sews protective suits for those handling ebola patients. Photo: Getty
Status update: the World Service’s reports on ebola
By Antonia Quirke - 24 October 10:16

Having listened to the show for three weeks, I am repeatedly struck by its unusually fluctuating tone.

Children play on a Carsten Holler playground installation at Frieze Art Fair, 14 October. Photo: Getty
Primary politics: parenting advice from Toby Young and Michael Rosen
By Melissa Benn - 23 October 16:58

Two publications ostensibly designed to provide reassurance and wisdom to parents of primary-age children and perhaps to tap in to the ever-growing “pushy parenting” market.

Tracy Emin sits in front of her 1998 piece “My Bed” on display at Christie's in June 2014. Photo: Rob Stothard/Getty
Tracey Emin and Steve McQueen: still paid-up members of the awkward art squad
By Mark Lawson - 23 October 15:49

I suspect that if the Turner Prize clash were rerun now, Mad Tracey might beat Hollywood Steve.

Novel Gothic: George Gilbert Scott's St Pancras Station seen in 1905. Photo: Getty
Strawberry Hill forever: Two presenters with a distinctly Gothic side
By Rachel Cooke - 23 October 15:46

Cruickshank seems unable to speak in anything other than an urgent whisper while Graham-Dixon has the kind of face that looks particularly good rounding the top of a stone spiral staircase on a cold March morning.

Stand at easel: Mike Leigh overlays his stylised realism on to costume drama in Mr Turner. Photo: Courtesy of Liveright Publishing Corporation (Lovecraft)
With love and squalor: Mike Leigh’s brand of realism is perfect for Turner
By Ryan Gilbey - 23 October 15:42

An interesting tension exists in the film between that grunginess and passages of intense beauty. It is a compliment commonly paid to well-shot films to say that any one of their frames could be hung in a gallery. This is unmistakably the case here. 

A group of young British children watching television in October 1988. Photo Express/Getty Images
Tracey Thorn: When I got the TV request, I thought: don’t you know who I think I am?
By Tracey Thorn - 23 October 15:06

No thanks – I really don’t want to take part in the “Identity Parade” on Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Inside a library. Photo: Getty
The joy of dictionaries
By Mark Forsyth - 23 October 14:16

To see how the world has changed, look no further than the dictionary.

Grape Britain: red grapes grown in Malton, near York, England's northernmost vineyard. Photo: Getty
Breaking Brent: adventures in the Napa Valley of north London
By Leo Johnson - 23 October 10:00

We’re aiming for 150 bottles, with “NW6” on the label and a bouquet of Bakerloo. But this is about more than wine. Could we rediscover lost skills and reconnect with each other?

Funny business: Jacobson thinks of laughter as a "portal to creativity" that connects us to a world outside ourselves. Photo: Vincent Migeat/Agence Vu
Howard Jacobson: Laughing ourselves to life
By Howard Jacobson - 23 October 10:00

The Navajo celebrate a baby’s first laugh as a rite of passage, a moment in which the baby laughs himself, as it were, out of inchoate babydom and into conscious humanity.

“We can’t all be intelligent” The Apprentice blog: series 10, episode 3
By Anoosh Chakelian - 23 October 8:41

Horror ensues as the candidates attempt to make and sell scented candles.

A tyre washed up on the beach at Prestwick, Scotland. Photo: Getty
Meet the women sailing across oceans to understand what toxins are really doing to our bodies
By Caroline Criado-Perez - 22 October 16:21

The aim of the voyage, and the play inspired by it, is to make “the unseen seen” and enhance understanding of what the chemicals we put into the sea and our own bodies are actually doing.

A still from “Margarita, with a Straw”.
Margarita, with a Straw: an Indian indie film with a lot to say about disability and sexuality
By Eleanor Margolis - 22 October 12:04

Central character Laila is hounded by reminders that she’s different, but refreshingly, never accepts this herself.

Arch enemy: the railway arches of Vauxhall Cross. Photo: Banalities/Flickr
Will Self: Eating “dirty food” in Vauxhall is just a little bit too authentic
By Will Self - 21 October 10:44

I can understand the logic of opening a branch of Dirty Burger in Shoreditch – but Vauxhall? Although the spirit of gentrification is taking up residence here, the fact remains the place is still what is scientifically termed a shithole. 

Booze run: shoppers making the most of whisky and gin price cuts at a London off-licence, 1965. Photo: Getty
Nicholas Lezard: It’s one thing to have a reputation, another to have one that’s so undeserved
By Nicholas Lezard - 21 October 10:31

All over London, men who should know better are going on the lash and then claiming that they’d been with me, simply in order to remove all notions of their own agency or responsibility.

Luke Evans in Dracula Untold.
What the historical inaccuracies in “Dracula Untold” tell us about the rise of Islamophobia
By Elest Ali - 20 October 17:13

The vilification of Islam has reached such heights that when the Muslim Sultan Mehmet II is cast opposite history’s bloodiest psycho-tyrant, it’s Dracula who emerges as the tragic hero.

John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson radiate effortless cool in Pulp Fiction.
Twenty years on, it’s time to admit that Pulp Fiction is a bad film
By Sam Moore - 20 October 12:47

It’s time we recognised that Quentin Tarantino’s much-lauded movie is about nothing, says nothing and makes you feel nothing.

Water: it's a mixer, you have it with whisky... Photo: Getty
Nina Caplan: It’s not our fault we’re a nation of bad drinkers
By Nina Caplan - 17 October 16:24

Most fizzy drinks are vile, yet some of those still do duty as mixers – the point here being, presumably, to cancel out one horrible taste with another.

Curious and curiouser: Fela Kuti on stage at Glastonbury in 1984. Photo: master_xpo/Flickr
For years, I wondered what Fela Kuti had really done to that man on stage
By Suzanne Moore - 17 October 15:39

Suzanne Moore’s weekly column, Telling Tales. 

Tanks for the memories: Brad Pitt and crew in Fury, a misfiring mix of horror and schmaltz
Belly of the beast: Brad Pitt’s new war movie veers from horror to schmaltz
By Ryan Gilbey - 17 October 15:18

For every stab at dirty realism in Fury, there is a sanitising touch to make everything clean again.

Pages