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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
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

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Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

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Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
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Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

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Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

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Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

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China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

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'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

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