‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney (Book Review).

The hype is deserved, the rumours are true and the Booker snub is scandalous. Sally Rooney’s Normal People is the love story of the twenty-first century; big on ideas, sparse on words, and awash in the sexual and emotional politics of our generation. Sally Rooney has taken the age-old ‘boy from the wrong side of…

‘Ghost Wall’ by Sarah Moss (Book Review)

Obsessive love of ancient societies can lead to human sacrifice. It’s an idea that has been explored to great effect by William Golding and Donna Tartt, but Sarah Moss’ folk horror novella Ghost Wall offers a perspective on the issue that resonates much more in a world that has seen far-right extremism come back into fashion….

‘Melmoth’ by Sarah Perry: Book Review (of sorts)

The Monster’s Words to Melmoth To Melmoth the Witness Accept the homage of one who has no name, and who, like you, was born the child of an accursed creator and cast out in the hour of my first great sin. Your travels have bloodied your feet and mine my hands, but while you have…

‘Washington Black’ by Esi Edugyan (Book Review).

Slavery, marine biology, and raw artistic instinct collide in Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black, shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize and winner of the 2018 Giller Prize. George Washington Black’s very name is a mockery of his torment. An eleven-year-old slave on a sugar plantation in Barbados, Wash has not been brought up, but beaten…

‘Fantastic Beasts 2’: imperfect, but worth the wait.

Fantastic Beasts : The Crimes of Grindelwald is a feast for the eyes and the heart. Unfortunately, even the best efforts of J.K. Rowling and some excellent acting from Johnny Depp and Zoë Kravitz cannot save this overly-busy sequel from a schlocky script and a plot more confusing than Father’s Day on Game of Thrones.

Apostle (2018) : Review

If the point of Apostle was to purge Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey, then it has more than succeeded. While boasting some fine mythology and disturbing reflections on mankind’s love for inflicting pain, Gareth Evans’ bonkers folk horror suffers from a weak script, a shoddy supporting cast, hideous violence, a lamentable lack of subtlety and the stupidest ending…

Holmes and Watson discuss ‘Holmes and Watson’.

‘To the man who loves art for its own sake,’ remarked Sherlock Holmes, tossing aside the advertisement sheet of the Daily Telegraph, ‘it is frequently in its least important and lowliest manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived.’ ‘My dear friend, how can you say such a thing?’ I exclaimed with some surprise,…

‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ by George Saunders (review).

This is a difficult novel, full of pain and agony. If you have lost a loved one, you probably shouldn’t read it, and yet probably should. In President Lincoln, you will see yourself, and Willie will become for you the spitting image of the loved one you lost.

Godless (2017): Review

With beautiful cinematography, fine performances and an occasionally impressive script, Godless never quite succeeds at making us take it as seriously as it clearly takes itself.