Books: Recommended

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The Independent Culture
The Bridge over the Drina by Ivo Andric, Harvill, pounds 8.99. A genuine modern classic: four centuries in the life of a war-torn bridge near Sarajevo. Review by Hugo Barnacle, 16 April.

How late it was, how late by James Kelman, Secker, pounds 14.99. Scintillating novel detailing a hapless search for dignity. Review by Janette Turner Hospital, 2 March.

The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker, Allen Lane, pounds 20. A learned, witty guide to the miraculous gift for speech. Review by Robert Winder, 15 April.

Professor Martens' Departure by Jaan Kross, tr Anselm Hollo, Harvill pounds 15.99. A clever subversion of communist life. Review by Doris Lessing, 19 February.

The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh, Secker, pounds 8.99. Extraordinary novel about the devastations of the war years by a North Vietnamese. Winner of the Independent foreign fiction award for February / March. Review by Geoff Dyer, 29 January.