Jonathan Gibbs

Jonathan Gibbs reviews books for The Independent and elsewhere. He recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at UEA and is working on a novel.

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Orfeo by Richard Powers, book review: Music, germs and a touch of genius

Richard Powers has written about classical music before (in The Time of Our Singing and The Gold Bug Variations) and about genetics (in Generosity, and Gold Bug again). Yet it would be rash to say that this new novel is his most complete exploration of those themes, if only because he will probably go ahead and write an even more complete one.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler - book review: 'Convoluted family affair doesn't quite hit home'

Karen Joy Fowler's novel is built in such a way as to make it peculiarly difficult to write about. Anyone who has read it might forgive me for simply reporting that it is an intricate and humane story about families, and the damage that good intentions can do, and leaving it at that.

Wake by Anna Hope - book review: 'Picture of Londoners in war's aftermath'

Anna Hope's novel is set over the five days in November 1920 when the body of the Unknown Warrior was transported from its first grave, somewhere in France, to be reinterred in Westminster Abbey on Armistice Day. While this solemn journey forms the backdrop to the story, its real focus is on three Londoners who, between them, show some of the different responses to the aftermath of the Great War.

S. by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst. Canongate £28

A literary thriller and 3D puzzle book to get lost in

Book review: Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop, By Bob Stanley

This epic chronicle of bands and genres shows that great pop feeds a craving for community

The Kills, by Richard House. Picador, £20

Rich in patterns and echoes, this vast novel wraps urgent stories of war in distracting riddles

Book review: From the Fatherland, With Love, By Ryu Murakami, trans. Ralph McCarthy, Charles de Wolf and Ginny Tapley Takemori

A resonant and timely 'procedural thriller' on a fictional invasion by North Korea

Book review: Things I Don't Want to Know, By Deborah Levy

Inspired by Orwell, another unique voice tells her tale

Google Doodle: Maurice Sendak's 85th birthday commemorated with 'Where The Wild Things Are' animation

Much-loved illustrator and author, who died last year, honoured with Doodle

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?