The Life of Pi author's fourth novel is a simian odyssey that lacks bite
A children’s book this week became the Costa Book of the Year. Frances Hardinge, with The Lie Tree, won the prize over Kate Atkinson, Andrew Michael Hurley and all the other front-runners. If this doesn’t sound momentous enough, then even Hardinge looked shocked at the ceremony, admitting that she hadn’t prepared a speech because, as everyone knows, “the children’s book never wins”.
Thanks for minding the gap, Judith!
Simple pleasures aren't enough to beat the January blues
The critics’ guide to the hottest tickets of the year ahead
Han Kang tackles a shocking moment in South Korean history in her searing novel
There is another way to see Shakespeare, I discovered this week, beyond the improvised, the abridged and the foreign-language productions that reboot the Bard. It is Shakespeare staged without a rehearsal, as was originally done in the 16th and 17th centuries, when each player was given a scroll with only his part, and relied on original “cue scripts” that contained the barest of contexts – when, and to whom to speak. No one, except for Shakespeare, knew the play as a whole before it was performed thus. Actors’ senses of discovery mirrored the audiences’ own. Some had hours to learn lines and carried multiple parts in their heads.
From The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, to The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray
The diary of an ordinary woman makes for extraordinary reading
Michael Cunningham's dark, alluring fairy tales, rebooted for grown-ups
Mass hysteria surrounding the notorious witch-trials at Salem is vividly re-created but the question of 'why' still lingers
The Booker Prize winner's oft-rejected, ultra-violent debut novel powerfully blurs good and evil, writes Arifa Akbar
Is fiction just life waiting to happen? Colum McCann's new short story collection
His Novel ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’ is shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015
Little Sister Death is a classic haunted-house story, based on a notorious 19th-century case of the Bell Witch in Tennessee
Is Moby Dick too long? Should its editor have cut out the natural science on whales or long tracts on nautical engineering?