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Secret Son, By Laila Lalami

Laila Lalami's first collection of short stories, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, opened with four Moroccans attempting to exit their beleaguered homeland across the Strait of Gibraltar, in hope to (illegally) enter into that European diasporic "paradise" that her North African predecessor Tahar Ben Jelloun has long dramatised in French. In her debut novel, Secret Son, she explores what it means for her characters to stay rather than flee from the socio-political morass that is modern-day Morocco. It is a refreshing starting point by Lalami, a Moroccan-born American émigrée, to concentrate on the divided worlds and hopes of reinvention within Morocco's own borderlines.

Hollywood rediscovers rum, music and the magic of Havana

Big acting names travel to Cuban capital amid signs of thaw

Credo: Salvatore Calabrese

Bartender, 54

Speed reading: Breaking the read limit

Wasting time savouring books rather than just absorbing the facts? The web could help boost your speed. John Walsh reports

Question Time: Camilla Wright

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The facts of life: the culture of love

In 2002, the American Film Institute named the 1942 classic Casablanca as the greatest movie love story. Gone With The Wind came in second place, followed by West Side Story.

Car Choice: So who won my old Bimmer? The Bangernomist with sausages ...

And the winner is .... Well, before we get to the Bangernomic bottom line of just who won my eccentric competition, for those of you who didn't read my feature on 11 May, let me recap. I decided to give away a perfectly good car with a full year's MOT, a brace of new tyres and a recent service . In these difficult, cash-poor times it seemed the right thing to do. All the entrants needed to do was make one of those new-fangled video things explaining just what Bangernomics is.

First Night: Zorro, Garrick Theatre, London

Lacklustre Latin swashbuckler fails to make the cut

Johann Hari: No wonder 'Gone With The Wind' has failed

Lordly lordy lord Miss Scarlett, this musical be one biiiiiig turkey! The Gone With The Wind musical in London – a thrilling experiment in singalong slavery and whoopin' white supremacy – is closing after six weeks. I sensed something was wrong when I settled into my seat and realised I was opposite a large sign saying "Negroes For Sale", with a group of black audience members sitting uncomfortably below. We watched – open-mouthed and gaping – for three-and-a-half hours as the Confederacy tap-danced and jazz-handed its way to defeat.

Verita Thompson: Humphrey Bogart's secret mistress

In 1982, when the starlet turned wig-maker Verita Thompson revealed that for 13 years she was Humphrey Bogart's lover, it surprised many in the film industry as well as admirers of the actor, one of the most iconic in cinema history. Along with his reputation as a hard-drinking, no-nonsense personality who gave indelible performances in such films as The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and The African Queen, Bogart was also famous for his outwardly ideal marriage to sultry Lauren Bacall, his fourth wife, who gave him two children and remained with him from their marriage in 1945 until his death in 1957.

Thomas Sutcliffe: What I learned during my time in the ranks

It wasn't entirely clear, from the weekend's reports on Quentin Davies' proposal that more comprehensive school children should be encouraged to sign up for the cadet corps, exactly what the initiative was meant to achieve. Mr Davies himself seems to think that it is a hearts-and-minds operation, improving attitudes towards the armed forces. A spokesman for the National Association of Headteachers hinted that it might be about supplying a sense of discipline and order to teenagers whose home life is generally as regimented as a bad day in Basra.

Ben Hur star Charlton Heston dies

Charlton Heston, who won the 1959 best actor Oscar as the chariot-racing Ben Hur and portrayed Moses, Michelangelo, El Cid and other figures in Hollywood epics of the 1950s and 60s, has died aged 84, his family said today.

Confessions of an Irish censor: why Clark Gable, 'Casablanca' and Cliff got the chop

In their decades-long crusade to preserve Ireland's innocence, the country's notoriously strict film censors banned violent movies such as A Clockwork Orange, The Wild Bunch and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

They've got it taped: The appeal of the home-made tribute

The big concept behind Michel Gondry's new film Be Kind Rewind is the remaking of classic movies on a shoestring budget. Starring Jack Black and Mos Def, the movie had its world premiere at the Sundance festival this week. Now its French director wants everyone to take their camcorders and remake classic films using household items as props, with friends and non-actors as cast and crew, and post the results on the internet.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project