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Up at Oxford by Ved Mehta, John Murray, pounds 17.99. A haunting memoir of university life. Review by Barbara Everett, 30 October.

Marguerite Yourcenar by Josyane Savigneau, University of Chicago Press, pounds 19.95. A striking biography of the first female member of the Academie Francaise. Review by Natasha Walter, 30 October.

United States by Gore Vidal, Andre Deutsch, pounds 25. 114 thought-provoking essays by a tremendous hater. Review by Godfrey Hodgson, 16 October.

Pronto by Elmore Leonard, Viking, pounds 14.99. The American crime master moves to Italy and stays on top of his form in a cracking tale of small-time criminals. Review by Giles Smith, 16 October.