Nick Hornby

Collaborators, National Theatre: Cottesloe, London

From Beaumont and Fletcher to Kaufman and Hart, there have been many cases of playwrights working in tandem. But Stalin and Bulgakov? Surely some mistake. The General Secretary of the Communist Party and the era's greatest (if often slyly so) dissident dramatist sound unlikely co-authors. That, however, is the scenario we are asked to envisage in the savagely funny, darkly fantastical play that screenwriter John Hodge has concocted for his stage debut.

How to Disappear: a Memoir for Misfits, By Duncan Fallowell

Just three years after Going as Far as I Can–Duncan Fallowell’s account of an ill-starred visit to New Zealand – comes thishandsome hardback, in which the ever-characterful author fails entirely to disappear from his prose. It’s not about a particular trip, but How to Disappear is asmucha travel book as To Noto,Fallowell’s 1989 record of a car journey to Sicily, or OneHot Summer in St Petersburg, his 1994 account of a Russian affair.

1Q84, By Haruki Murakami

How odd, but apt, that an author who writes so often and so well about the lure of cults should himself have become the idol of a worldwide sect of votaries. Near the end of the first of the three volumes that make up Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, a policewoman who has investigated a secretive commune reports that "Doctrine-wise, it's kind of deconstructionist". Initiates absorb "a jumble of images of religion" that takes in "new-age spiritualism, fashionable academicism, a return to nature, anti-capitalism, occultism, and stuff". Overall, their creed "has a bunch of flavours, but no substantial core". Ayumi, a traffic cop who likes to pick up strangers in the company of the novel's heroine and enjoy "all-night sex feasts", adds: "In McLuhanesque terms, the medium is the message. Some people may find that cool."

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What the...? Dickens to get unwanted statue

The design has been chosen for the United Kingdom's first-ever statue of its greatest novelist, Charles Dickens, in spite of his request, made at his funeral, that there should be no monuments in his honour.