The idea of The Great American Novel feels like an albatross around the neck of that country’s literature. Sooner or later every white middle-class male writer with any kind of reputation feels obliged to have a stab at it, usually with limited success. Eventually they think it’s time to pack away all the fun stuff like storytelling, energy and plot, and make some big state-of-the-nation address, telling people exactly how things stand in the good ol’ US of A. Interestingly, America’s women writers don’t tend to feel the obligation to grandstand so strongly, and their novels are usually all the better for that.
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Saturday 01 February 2014
WHAT TO DO
Friday 24 January 2014
Can you spot the difference?
Saturday 18 January 2014
The rose gardens and parks of the US capital are under attack and only lethal force can save them from the doe-eyed assailants
Dissident Gardens, By Jonathan Lethem: Book review - insightful look at radical politics in New York
Friday 17 January 2014
Music looms large for Jonathan Lethem. In the past, citing Walter Pater's dictum that "all art constantly aspires towards the condition of music", he has said that he tries to make his prose "as musical as I can".
Tuesday 07 January 2014
Sunday 05 January 2014
Our gardening correspondent's opening resolution is to tidy up. After that, she can get down to her World Cup window boxes and learning how to cloud-prune...
Tuesday 31 December 2013
What do a street-van burger, a wedding bouquet and a Beatles album have in common? They're all on a growing list of products shoppers can buy over the counter using the virtual currency Bitcoin.
Saturday 28 December 2013
Gardeners have a habit of going on about their planting disasters, instead of celebrating their successes, says our green-fingered correspondent...
Saturday 21 December 2013
If you’ve left your present purchasing to the eleventh hour, don’t fret, there’s often nothing better than a beautifully potted-up set of herbs, or a homemade bouquet garni
Thursday 19 December 2013
Elephants are culturally important across the globe
Tuesday 17 December 2013
The actor, 37, claimed he enjoyed an unusual relationship Hollywood icon, who was 40 years his senior
Sunday 15 December 2013
Conservationists stunned by the insects’ rapid recovery
Thursday 12 December 2013
Barely a police officer in sight as 2,000 student protesters take to London's streets
Tuesday 10 December 2013
A revolution in the flowerbed as Monty plots to make Britain bloom again
Saturday 07 December 2013
WHAT TO DO
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
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- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 5 Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders