Arts and Entertainment

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.

Man hit by train while trying to flee from police

A man has died after he was hit by a train while trying to flee from police in north-west London.

The Villa di Colonnata, which inspired Pinocchio author Carlo Collodi, is on the market for £8.8m

Pinocchio villa for sale at £8.8m near Florence

The house's gardens feature in Carlo Collodi's 'The Adventures of Pinocchio'

Man jailed for 20 weeks after trying to kill his neighbours’ cat

Karl Dyke had the pet in a noose and ‘moments from death’ when its owners intervened

How many trees have to fall before local councils see their significance?

The year turns inward now. The darkening dusks, the long shadows and the endless leaf-clearing leave few appealing opportunities for gardeners engaging in outdoor work.

A worker at the facility with a handful of fertiliser pellets that it produces

Come, friendly bombs, don’t fall on Slough. It’s doing good for humans now: Berkshire town to launch £2m nutrient-recovery reactor

Once mocked by Sir John Betjeman and Ricky Gervais, the town is now home to a unique machine that is turning sewage into high-grade phosphorous fertiliser - and could hold the key to securing future global food supplies

South Korean President Park Geun-hye is accompanied by Prince Philip at Horse Guards Parade in London

South Korea refuses to forgive Japan’s wartime atrocities

World Focus: In South Korea a sense of vulnerability bred from past humiliations lies just below the surface

So what’s it like to be mugged? Now I know

An arm snaked over my shoulder. My phone was in the palm of my hand…

Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay has been given a vote of confidence from owner Vincent Tan

Malky Mackay to seek assurances over Cardiff City future in meeting with Vincent Tan later today

The Bluebirds manager has had his future thrown into doubt after Tan dismissed Iain Moody to replace him with his son's friend Alisher Apsalyamov

Amana from heaven: Emma Townshend reveals her favourites from the spring seed catalogues

So my aunty was on Facebook last night going on about how Sarah Raven had sucked her in and taken all her money again. OK, you think this might be an exaggeration. But what she actually said was, "Oh Sarah Raven, how you tempt me with your plant porn. In goes a big seed'n'bulb order. Yes." (As a fully paid-up and practising member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, she – Ms Judy Astley – can get away with this kind of saucy stuff.)

Weekend work: Time to cut back herbaceous perennials

What to do

Still going strong: With the warm air and moist ground, autumn gardens can provide the finest spread of all

The rich, still days that we so often get in the first half of October can provide the best conditions of the year, says Anna Pavord

Spider on a pillow is among non-emergency calls to firefighters

London Fire Brigade has revealed some of the strangest requests their control room has received recently

Two sets of human remains discovered in Nottinghamshire garden

The remains of two people have been found in a garden, police have confirmed.

The kitchen in the 4 bedroom semi detached house for sale at Walney Road, Heworth Village, York. On with Ashtons for £325,000

The kitchen is now the most valuable room in the house

UK homeowners have spent £413 on kitchen gadgets in the past year

Don't let skills of the elderly go to waste

We would view it as a tragedy if young people were left to languish

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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 15 May 2015
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'