Learning to make an Oud in Nazareth by Ruth Padel, book review: Like the ending of Little Gidding without the monoculturalism

Ruth Padel's new book follows her verse biography of Darwin, and The Mara Crossing, an astonishing synthesis of science and art, prose and poetry on the theme of migration. Among the sometimes costive products of contemporary British poetry, these sustained feats of imagination have seemed at times almost perverse, at times like tours de force. Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth displays a similar energy and ambition.

The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA and the Battle over a Forbidden Book by Peter Finn and Petra Couvée, book review

How the Soviet ban on Pasternak's 'Dr Zhivago' was turned into a US coup

Casting Off by Emma Bamford, book review: In pursuit of a dream life at sea

Casting off begins with a conundrum now so familiar in publishing that it could almost be its own genre: a woman finds herself in her mid-thirties with plenty of dreams left unlived but a social circle full of friends settling down with husbands and babies.

Your Fathers, Where Are They? And The Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers, book review

Is Dave Eggers one man or is he a literary brand with caffeinated employees buzzing about a San Francisco HQ, brainstorming zeitgeist-grabbing themes and crafting prose by committee? You might wonder, as Eggers publishes his third novel in 18 months, except that the quality of his recent output is unmistakably the work of a singular talent. He might not proclaim his seriousness and ambition with the same intensity as some of his contemporaries, but with each tightly controlled book, Eggers' fiction becomes more prescient, moving and unsettling.

The Silent History by Eli Horowitz, Matthew Derby and Kevin Moffett, book review

Even in old-fashioned book form, this high-concept iNovel dazzles

Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution by Laurie Penny, book review

Laurie Penny is a radical left-wing blogger and columnist, and a loudmouth Twitter pundit who often finds herself embroiled in online spats about feminism, sexism, trans rights, LGBT rights, civil liberties and politics.

Blocked: stories of the inhabitants of a Lisbon apartment building

Euro Noir by Barry Forshaw, book review: Exemplary tour of the European crime landscape

The once-closed world of Anglo-American crime fiction has long been infiltrated by foreign agents – in translation, of course. Barry Forshaw has been closely following the Euro invasion, and manages to cover an extraordinary stretch of continental shelf in this brief but comprehensive survey.

The Good Children by Roopa Farooki - book review: 'Family saga with a wicked witch at its heart'

Roopa Farooki's sixth novel is a family saga sprawling across three continents and three generations. The story follows four siblings in a back-and-forth interweaving narrative, from a childhood in Lahore in the Thirties and Forties, to England and the US over four decades, to the final scenes, at their mother's deathbed back in Lahore.

John Tusa: Pain in the Arts

Pain in the Arts by John Tusa - book review: 'A convincing argument in defence of the arts'

Who needs the arts? Should taxpayers foot the bill for them? Aren't they a luxury we can do without, especially during a recession? John Tusa sets out to answer these questions and share valuable wisdom about leadership, drawing on his experience of more than 30 years in senior positions in some of the country's leading cultural organisations, from the World Service to the Barbican Centre and the University of the Arts, London.

A New Concise Reference Dictionary and Glossary of Usage Terms and Subjects in Contemporary Art A-Z, by Neal Brown

An irreverent guide to the idiosyncracies of the art world

A Parallel Life, By Bonnie Greer, book review: A rebel’s life, from urban Waltons to drag queens

In this, Bonnie Greer’s memoir, she recalls hearing DJ Herb Kent “the Cool Gent” on the radio as a young woman in Chicago in the 1960s, and he did something she had not heard before: he talked over the records to analyse the black community’s predicament with Sam Cooke playing in the background. It was the first beats of rap.

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