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Rip it up and start again: a kindergarten remains standing on a demolition site in Shaanxi Province. Photo: Reuters
Disappearing villages: the losers in China's breakneck urbanisation
By Isabel Hilton - 06 May 10:33

So rapid has China's development been that at any given moment there are vast, empty proto-cities waiting for people.

Glasgow, from where James Kelman hails. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
A psychological adventure, Scots grit, and a village in sign language
By New Statesman - 06 May 10:22

New books by Louise Stern, James Kelman and Douglas Kennedy.

Larger than life: “Cave is creating a disguise which, ironically, makes him instantly recognisable – and then hiding inside it”. Photo: Brian Rasic / Rex
Tracey Thorn on Nick Cave: man and bogeyman
By Tracey Thorn - 06 May 8:49

Rock's gothic - or comic - bogeyman gives a masterclass in transformation at the Royal Albert Hall.

Nicholas Cage in Spike Jonze’s 2002 film “Adaptation”.
Is it possible to make a good film about writing?
By Oliver Farry - 05 May 12:21

Too often, films are very inarticulate when talking about books. 

“A hell of a start for Rufus Norris”: Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in Everyman at the National Theatre. Photo: Geraint Lewis / Rex
Carol Ann Duffy’s Everyman is mordantly funny – yet poignant
By Mark Lawson - 05 May 10:49

With screen actors taking the lead, Everyman and American Buffalo sparkle with cinematic swagger.

Miller (left) and Bellow (center) in New York. Photo: © Inge Morath Foundation
When Saul Bellow and Arthur Miller were neighbours
By Leo Robson - 04 May 10:56

They crossed paths while living close together in Reno - but the two heavyweights differed more than shared.

Two women pass a bridge destroyed by Serb artillery fire (1994). Photo: ERIC CABANIS/AFP/Getty Image
Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals takes Waugh to Bosnia
By Mark Lawson - 04 May 10:50

The first novel from Thick of It writer Jesse Armstrong addresses the morality of foreign intervention with jokes, slapstick - and a student play.

Gideon and his box of tricks. Photo: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images
Regressive politics: George Osborne wants to shrink the state to pre-1945 levels
By Peter Hain - 04 May 10:47

Mr Osborne's Economic Experiment reveals the chancellor's tricks.

Flying aces: Soviet air force officers decorated after serving in the Second World War.
From Bletchley girls to Russian aces: the forgotten women at war
By Erica Wagner - 04 May 10:46

This is real feminist history - work which was unheralded not just because it was top secret, but because women did it.

A man walks past parliament, reflected in a puddle. Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Why do so many governments achieve so little?
By Andrew Adonis - 04 May 10:44

New books by Anthony King and Michael Barber invite us to assess - and act.

Pulling the strings. Picture: Tina Modotti/AKG-Images
Rowan Williams: can we ever be in charge of our own lives?
By Rowan Williams - 04 May 10:35

The debate over freedom is a complex, extended one.

Perfect wavelengths: the new Blur album is a smooth blend of separate interests. Photo: LINDA BROWNLEE (BLUR), REX
Big audio bounceback: new albums by Blur and The Prodigy reviewed
By Kate Mossman - 01 May 8:28

The Albarn-Coxon concoction sounds surprisingly robust.

Pendle hill. Photo: Wikimedia commons
“On Approaching Pendle Hill”: a new poem by Ben Myers
By Ben Myers - 30 April 14:10

The path up to Pendle. The sleeping beast. The purple skies.
Folk tell of witches burned or branded or drowned or hung
up there. They tell of failed crops, stillborn calves, murrain.
Always the women. Always the witches. Never the men.

A graveyard. Photo: Public domain pictures
If the dead could talk, what would they say? The Dirty Dust gives voice to the buried
By Roy Foster - 30 April 14:10

Alan Titley's translation of Máirtín Ó Cadhain's Cré na Cille brings us a novel entirely in dialogue - and set in a graveyard.

Uneasy lies the head: a self-portrait by Bruno Schulz from The Booke of Idolatry (1920-22).
A protest against reality: the life and afterlife of Bruno Schulz
By Chris Power - 30 April 12:50

He influenced writers from Salman Rushdie to Danilo Kiš - now a new novel by Maxim Biller takes us deep into the legend of the Polish-Jewish novelist.

Dame Agatha Christie. Photo: AFP
Clever novelists know how to write a story. It’s the clever-clever ones who don’t
By Ed Smith - 30 April 12:07

Modernism's legacy seems to dominate refined taste - but you can't underestimate the power of a great story.

Russell Brand, presenter of The Emperor's New Clothes. Photo: Alex Huckle/Getty Images
Don't mention politics! Rhianna Dhillon risks it on Radio 1
By Antonia Quirke - 30 April 10:31

Perhaps what Dhillon was picking up on as patronising was that if you’re addressing a slightly younger audience you have a responsibility not just to keep distracting them with quotable outrages; their minds are less experienced.

Ghost-writing: Shelley Hennig in Unfriended
Facetime your fears: Unfriended is a surprisingly up-to-date horror film – set on a laptop screen
By Ryan Gilbey - 30 April 10:29

We’ve seen too many Friday the thirteenth films to buy the sight of teenagers venturing into the deep, dark forest, but the deep, dark internet is another matter.

Cut to chase: Tom Hughes plays Joe Lambe, MI5
Second-hand spooks (but first rate cheekbones): BBC2's The Game
By Rachel Cooke - 30 April 10:26

With Tom Hughes as lead and a script by Toby Whithouse, The Game gives us a lot to like - but doesn't do enough to surprise.

Blue Labour. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty, colour cast New Statesman
How to win the future: why Blue Labour is the way forward
By Phillip Blond - 29 April 9:21

In a world so highly individualised, what we need is a cultural rather than an economic politics.

Civil savages? Rachel Caine’s “god of all dogs”. Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Where the wild things are: fiction that proves we're closer to nature than we think
By Erica Wagner - 29 April 8:00

Melissa Harrison's At Hawthorn Time and Sarah Hall's The Wolf Border take us to the brink of the anthropocene.

Life after death: survivors of the genocide from Sivas, central Turkey, gather in the southern Turkish city of Aintab (now Gaziantep), 1919. Photo: BRIDGEMAN IMAGES
There is no us and them: remembering the lost Armenians
By Elif Shafak - 27 April 12:30

Perhaps the most difficult word to pronounce aloud in the Turkish language is “soykirim” – genocide.

Mortal Kombat's Kung Jin.
Critical Distance: This Week in Videogame Blogging #15
By Critical Distance - 27 April 10:24

Introducing Mortal Kombat’s first openly gay character.

Far out: Hornsby’s career has taken him from Sheena Easton to Arnold Schoenberg via the Grateful Dead. Illustration: Tony Millionaire
How Bruce Hornsby survived a hit song
By Kate Mossman - 24 April 12:59

From the Grateful Dead to Arnold Schoenberg, via Tossers Wood.

In the Frame: Farage Begins
By Tom Humberstone - 24 April 9:02

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

Soaking up the sun: another distinctive vintage rises through scrubland in a valley Down Under. Photo: Mehdi Chebil/Polaris/Eyevine
The freedom of Australian vineyards leaves tasters spoilt for choice
By Nina Caplan - 23 April 17:50

Before I even got near the reds, I found myself thinking of a short story by Tolstoy, “How Much Land Does a Man Need?”.

Voice of experience: Toni Morrison in 1977. Photo: REX
Lionel Shriver: Toni Morrison picked the wrong subject in God Help the Child
By Lionel Shriver - 23 April 17:29

Toni Morrison has plenty of laurels on which to rest - and this new novel isn't terrible. But given the choice, I'd read Beloved anyday.

Avengers, assemble: in Marvel’s latest offering, the camera never stops moving.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is at once too much and never quite enough
By Ryan Gilbey - 23 April 17:20

If the Marvel fan base, like an elephant, is large but easily startled, Roy Andersson's minimalist vignettes in A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence ask the viewer to endure discomfort.

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