Arifa Akbar is literary editor of The Independent and i newspapers. She has worked at The Independent since 2001 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk in 2009. She was a judge for the Orwell Prize for books 2013, and the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014.
19 August 2015 06:06 PM
Elena Ferrante is due to publish the fourth, and last, of her cult “Neapolitan” novels next month. The Story of the Lost Child’s publication is a big event for her legion of readers in Italy and around the world.
13 August 2015 01:17 PM
The furore around a book of “inspirational” (America’s synonym for Christian) fiction featuring a romance between Aric von Schmidt, a Nazi commandant and a half-Jewish woman, Hadassah Benjamin, is no surprise. This is a story in which the happy-ever-after is bound up with New Testament salvation and Hadassah’s Damascene conversion to Christianity. It also reworks Holocaust history so that Jews bound for Auschwitz divert their train to freedom (with the help of Aric, and play out their escape with a bravura reminiscent of The Great Escape).
Submission by Michel Houellebecq; trans. Lorin Stein, book review: Fear and self-loathing in the fifth republic
06 August 2015 02:00 PM
30 July 2015 04:36 PM
It is curious how short stories by Irish writers exude such a strong sense of place, and identity, even when there is a concerted attempt to escape Ireland, from James Joyce’s Dubliners to Edna O’Brien’s collections which emanate the nostalgia of self-imposed exile.
Hear The Wing Sing & Pinball 1973 by Haruki Murakami; trans. Ted Goossen; appetisers from the kitchen table
23 July 2015 12:29 PM
Until now, we have not been able to read Haruki Murakami’s first two novels in English despite their popular success in Japanese. It is his third novel, A Wild Sheep Chase, translated in 1990, and the last in his “Rat” trilogy, that English readers have taken as his first, and that he himself considers “the true beginning of my career as a novelist.” In fact, he has resisted English translations of Hear the Wind Sing (1979) and Pinball 1973 (1980) for decades, except for a ‘student study aid’ translation in Japan that has long been out of print, and in the face of fans frequently writing to his UK publisher with their pleas.
20 July 2015 09:39 AM
Once a jet-set private playground, Argironisos now welcomes a rather different clientele. Arifa Akbar limbers up among its devotees
19 July 2015 12:58 PM
Once a jet-set private playground, Argironisos now welcomes a rather different clientele
16 July 2015 12:07 PM
Week in Books column
Go Set A Watchman - book review: A rough draft, but more radical and politicised than Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird
13 July 2015 12:31 AM
We will never be able to read Mockingbird in the same way again, and never see Atticus in the same light. It is the end of innocence for that novel
08 July 2015 04:38 PM
A little blue book was left on my desk a few weeks ago. More a pamphlet than a book, with a paper cover bound by string. It looked like a catalogue or a theatre programme. I pushed it to one side of the desk, just above the bin, and it sat there until it was time for a clear-out, when I picked it up again and saw it was in fact a chapbook by Michel Faber called Poems for Eva, with a pink post-it note on top saying ‘These turned out well. F x’.
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
- 1 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
- 4 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 5 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'