Cultural Life: Georgina Harding, Novelist
Friday 04 May 2012
The Hooligan's Return, an autobiography by the Romanian novelist Norman Manea. Manea left his country and his language (hard thing, for a novelist) and went into exile in the West in 1986. This book records his return home 10 years later. It's difficult at points, painful, moving. In contrast, I found myself re-reading Graham Greene's The Quiet American. It's still brilliant, deep on people, western/eastern relationships and morality, besides being so prescient on 50 years of American foreign policy.
L'Exercice de l'Etat. This had a single showing at the BFI and deserves wider UK distribution. It's a film about the realities of politics: how a French minister of transport is driven off-course, even into a car crash. Clever, funny, shocking, occasionally surreal, and very French. It opens with a naked woman diving into the mouth of a crocodile – but this is the anxious politician's dream, not actuality.
A Walk-on Part: The Fall of New Labour. A dramatisation of Chris Mullin's diaries. This was the reality of politics again, but English-style – no erotic crocodiles here.
Borgen. We've been watching the boxed set compulsively. A Danish woman prime minister begins with the best of intentions, plus a wonderful home and sex life. When all the deals are done, where will she end?
Georgina Harding's novel 'Painter of Silence' is shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. (www.orangeprize.co.uk)
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food