BOOK REVIEW / Recommended

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The Independent Culture
My Golden Trades by Ivan Klima, Granta pounds 13.99. A striking and ironic account of survival under Communism. Winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Award for September / October.

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley, Flamingo pounds 5.99. A powerful prize-winning novel that sets King Lear in rural Iowa. Review by Anthony Quinn, 17 October.

Mating by Norman Rush, Cape, pounds 14.99. Dazzling novel about a woman's vibrant life in the Kalahari. Interview by Natasha Walter, 5 December.

John Maynard Keynes by Robert Skidelsky, Macmillan, pounds 20. Second volume of an exhilarating biography, larded with telling details. Review by Ian McIntyre, 14 November.

The Gaze of the Gorgon by Tony Harrison, Bloodaxe, pounds 6.95. Fierce and witty poems composed with a marvellous mixture of high and low tones. Review by Robert Winder, 3 December.

A Time to Speak by Helen Lewis, Blackstaff Press, pounds 6.95. Stark life of a Czech ballet teacher in the eye of the Holocaust. Review by Sue Gaisford, 14 November.

Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals by Iris Murdoch, Chatto pounds 20. The audacious attempt to present Western philosophy as a guide to life. Review by Ray Monk, 24 October.

The Czar's Madman by Jaan Kross, translated by Anselm Hollo, Harvill, pounds 14.99. Deep and reflective novel about a wrongly imprisoned hero in Czarist Russia. Review by Robert Winder, 18 December.