Arts and Entertainment

Some great authors have published their worst works from beyond the grave. A few though, keep getting better when they’re dead, such as the Chilean novelist and short story writer, Roberto Bolaño. His seminal five-part novel, 2666, came out posthumously, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and convinced the world he was not just a master of the short form but could put out his life’s best work at nearly 900 pages, even after death.

Summer of tainted love: A season of strictly adult stories about the shadow side of love and sex

Boyd Tonkin looks into a grown-up literature of dark desire

Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man, by Bill Clegg

The crack begins to show in a literary agent's memoir

Musa Okwonga: The Prophecy - A World Cup short story

It was a slow, warm evening at the World Cup Café: maybe even humid. Three men waited quietly in a queue by the kitchen door, their hands outstretched.

Archer claims Bollywood wants to film his short story

Is Jeffrey Archer set to get the "Jai Ho" treatment? He seems to think so. The novelist and former MP has revealed that two different Bollywood producers have approached him, seeking to turn a recently crafted short story into a Hindi blockbuster. The life peer said the filmmakers believed there was potential to develop Caste-Off into a full film. The short story, included in a recent collection called And Thereby Hangs a Tale, tells the story of an Indian couple from different castes who meet at a stalled traffic signal in Delhi and fall in love.

Fists, By Pietro Grossi, trans. Howard Curtis

Three tales told with a noble art

A Gate at the Stairs, By Lorrie Moore

The landlocked Midwest is an uncompromising place to live. In this novel by Lorrie Moore, there's a sense that she has wrung every last drop of mirth and meaning from dispiriting surroundings. The author of three celebrated short-story collections and two previous novels, including the memorably titled Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?, Moore returns after an 11-year intermission with a masterly work that examines how Americans have educated themselves to endure the unendurable. The novel's narrator, 20-year old Tassie Keltjin, has just enrolled at Troy university, "the Athens of the Midwest". The daughter of a Lutheran farmer and a Jewish mother, she's hungry for enlightenment. Engaged by her classes (Intro to Sufism and a module in war-movie soundtracks) and happily scandalised by her roommate's warped jokes, Tassie has never eaten Chinese takeaway or seen a man wear a tie with jeans. Her life gets yet more piquant when she accepts a child-minding job with a glamorous local couple. Sarah and Edward are only part-way through the adoption process – her charge is yet to exist - and Tassie comes to understand she's a witness to a stage-managed act whose true complexity will only revealed as the novel progresses.

Love Me Tender, By Jane Feaver

Jane Feaver's memorable debut, According to Ruth, depicted the dog days of a Seventies marriage. Her second book, a collection of short stories set in rural Devon, confirms her considerable talents. Revolving around the love lives of the inhabitants of the small town of Buckleigh, these prickly and passionate tales capture the brief moment of reprieve before the rain-clouds crowd in.

Alan Sillitoe: Writer celebrated for his depictions of working-class life in novels such as 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning'

In his long life, Alan Sillitoe wrote over 50 books – novels, short story collections, travel works, poetry collections, plays and screenplays – but he remained best known for his first two works: the novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958) and the short story collection that had as its title story "The Loneliness of The Long Distance Runner" (1959).

If It Is Your Life, By James Kelman

James Kelman is the master of awkwardness. In this intensely realised collection of short stories, we encounter a wide variety of awkward voices. Some narrators are awkwardly nervous about social groups. Others are discomfited by their families. Some are awkward about tenderness and erotic desire. Some are awkwardly critical of the state when those around them seem not to care, while others seem to be politically active, and so live with the threat of physical violence.

The Locust and the Bird: My Mother's Stor, By Hanan al-Shaykh

Hanan al-Shaykh was seven years old when her mother abandoned her. After this, the young Hanan "tucked her out of sight, in a box in [her] head", and it is years before her mother again enters her thoughts, let alone her life.

Where the God of Love Hangs Out, By Amy Bloom

Amy Bloom's third book of stories (she has also written two the critically-acclaimed novels and a work of non-fiction exploring gender and sexuality) contains two sets of four linked tales and four that stand alone. It's a neatly-organised collection, the four, two, four, two pattern imposing order on the messy, uncontrollable subject matter. The two sequences, in particular, turn on acts of love that disrupt microcosmic social orders.

Best European Fiction 2010, Edited by Aleksandar Hemon

Nothing's lost in translation

The Alternative Hero, By Tim Thornton

Clive Beresford is a music fan. And how. In his thirties, he is still in the grip of the obsession that ruled him in his teens – an obsession with alternative music in general and the Thieving Magpies in particular. (The Magpies are a fictional band but slot in so neatly beside the Stone Roses, Violent Femmes, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine and all the other bands name-checked here, that one almost believes in them.) When Clive discovers that Lance Webster, the former frontman of the now-disbanded Magpies, lives just around the corner, he starts plotting to befriend him and solve the tormenting question once and for all: why did the Magpies break up?

Wild Child, By T C Boyle

Stories of potency, fire and lucidity

Love Me, Love Me Not, Edited by Katie Fforde and Sue Moorcroft

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the Romantic Novelists' Association has edited an anthology of new short stories from 40 of its members – many of whom say they'd have given up on writing without the association's support.

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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003