BOOK REVIEW / Recommended

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The Independent Culture
The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh, translated by Frank Palmos, Secker, pounds 8.99. Winner of this year's pounds 10,000 Independent Foreign Fiction Award. A remarkable novel by a former soldier in the North Vietnamese army.

The Bridge over the Drina by Ivo Andric, tr. Lovett F Edwards, Harvill pounds 8.99. A genuine modern classic: four centuries in the life of a bridge near Sarajevo. Review by Hugo Barnacle, 16 April.

The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker, Allen Lane, pounds 20. Learned and witty analysis of the miraculous human reflex that urges people to talk and write. Review by Robert Winder, 15 April.

Innocents in Africa by Drury Pifer, Granta, pounds 15.99. A tragic but warm evocation of racial bitterness in a memoir of South African childhood in the 1930s. Review by Doris Lessing, 7 May.

The Marriage of Time and Convenience by Robert Winder, Harvill, pounds 14.99. Novel by this newspaper's literary editor. Not reviewed here, but mysteriously hailed elsewhere both as 'a small work of art' and 'an absolute clunker'.

The Politics of Dispossession by Edward Said, Chatto, pounds 18. Admirable and topical collection of essays on the victims of victims. Review by Robert Fisk, 9 July