Saturday 07 October 1995
Ellen Gilchrist's women live the American dream to the max. When they're not screwing cowboys, they're visiting therapists; when they're not snacking on fried chicken, they're drowning their talent in Chivas Regal. Gilchrist's latest update on the lives of the Manning and Hand families is a ride through familiar territory, but it lacks some of the edge which, in her previous books, made her such an astute chronicler of the rich bitch.
A Period of Adjustment by Dirk Bogarde (Penguin, pounds 5.99)
As the author is almost a fictional character himself, it's hard not to read a Dirk Bogart novel without picturing him in the leading role. In this, his fifth novel, he appears as William Caldicott, an uptight Englishman who, when faced with the death of his youngest brother from Aids and his own imminent divorce, falls in love. The resulting drama is played out against a suitably charming backdrop of Provencal farmhouses and Riviera hotels.
Virginia Woolf by James King
(Penguin, pounds 9.99)
The greatest achivement of Virginia Woolf's life, according to this sympathetic biography, was to stay alive as long as she did. Each day was a battle for survival, and she felt more confident writing her books than living her life. Her favourite topics - the destructiveness of men, the burdens of the past, and the fragility of life - not only cheered her up, but bought her enough time to become what she always wanted to be ... the Grand Old Woman of English Letters.
The Rape of Europa by Lynn H Nicholas (Papermac, pounds 12)
With the exception of modernist works (despised as "degenerate"), Nazi bosses were obsessed by art. In occupied Europe, they indulged their avarice on a massive scale. Goering gathered over a thousand old masters (gratifyingly, the most valued were fakes), while the museum in Linz, Hitler's childhood home, received 8,000 works. Despite careful detective work, many items have never been recovered. A tremendous story, enthrallingly told.
Unsent Letters by Malcolm Bradbury (Penguin, pounds 6.99)
Mannered epistolary squibs, whose forced humour (eg "The Golden Bowel by Henry James") is reminiscent of Punch at its creakiest. Bradbury's choice of targets - academic conferences, foreign researchers - is tired, and his tone annoyingly superior. Autobiographical fragments, such as making the front row ill by nervously twiddling with the gas taps when lecturing in a science hall, hint at the book that might have been.
Shadows of the Mind by Roger Penrose (Vintage, pounds 7.99)
Hawking's Law of Scientific Bestsellers (sales halve for every equation included) is boldly ignored by his fellow mathematician. The first indigestible chunk of algebra occurs on page 28 and it soon gets worse. This work on the gulf between mind and computer makes scant concession to the non-scientist. And Penrose allows a distressing number of exclamation marks to escape from his formulae into his prose.
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
- 3 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 4 Mafia's wall of silence broken: Victim of Cosa Nostra's extortion rackets in its Corleone heartland co-operates with authorities for the first time ever
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Game of Thrones season 5: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as it’s not him
The Jump 2015 line-up: Joey Essex, Phil Tufnell, Heather Mills and co take to the slopes
New Ghostbusters movie lands all-female cast with Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones
Grumpy Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' rediscovered after 35 years
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over King Abdullah tributes