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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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Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
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Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
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Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
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Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
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Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Bruges
India & Nepal
Japan
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker