View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
28 August 2019updated 07 Jun 2021 5:20pm

NS recommends: New books by Ian Sansom, Edward Posnett and Naguib Mahfouz

By New Statesman

September 1, 1939
Ian Sansom

“As the clever hopes expire/Of a low dishonest decade.” As our own dishonest decade draws to a close, Ian Sansom’s “biography” of WH Auden’s poem “September 1, 1939” seems perfectly timed. Sansom’s self-deprecating tone weaves through his account of Auden – a failed scholar but a successful if polarising poet – and what his New York poem says about the world then and now. Erudite yet infinitely cordial, Sansom dissects every word of the piece, using it as a platform for literary analysis alongside jovial and digressive anecdotes.
Fourth Estate, 352pp, £16.99

Edward Posnett

“No longer is the harvest a private endeavour, a small garden tended by its owners; now it is one shaped by the desires of distant others and their small choices,” writes Edward Posnett. Harvest begins in Canary Wharf, an insular world of glass and steel from which Posnett longs to learn of the natural world that surrounds him. In this collection of essays, he sets out to trace the stories and traditions of seven natural wonders, from eiderdown collected on the coastal plains of Iceland to the edible nests of swifts plucked from a cave in Borneo, mapping their journeys across the globe.
Bodley Head, 336pp, £16.99

The Quarter
Naguib Mahfouz

This collection has surfaced 25 years too late, according to the note with which the manuscript was found, which said “for publishing 1994”. Naguib Mahfouz’s legacy as Egypt’s greatest novelist is sustained with these engaging short stories, translated from Arabic by Roger Allen and set in Cairo’s Gamaliya quarter. Belated though they may
be, their themes are timeless: “The most precious thing I lost at the gambling table… was my life, not the money,” says Ali Zaidan in “Life is a Game”. “Life begins at 60,” responds the narrator.
Saqi Books, 128pp, £10.99

Content from our partners
Labour's health reforms can put patients first
Data science can help developers design future-proof infrastructure
How to tackle the UK's plastic pollution problem – with Coca-Cola

This article appears in the 28 Aug 2019 issue of the New Statesman, The long shadow of Hitler

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.