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The Independent Culture
The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh, translated by Frank Palmos, Secker, pounds 8.99. Winner of the 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 urge to talk and write. Review by Robert Winder, 15 April.

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 as both 'a small work of art' and 'an absolute clunker'.