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.

New & Collected Poems, By Ruth Fainlight

These 544 tidily bound pages might at a cursory glance look like a daunting prospect. On closer acquaintance, no one aspiring to an overview of modern poetry in English will want it to be absent from their shelves, even if these are already graced by some of Ruth Fainlight's previous 14 volumes. Her new cornucopia includes substantial selections from each of these, from Cages (1966) to Moon Wheels (2006). It starts with 22 pages of hitherto uncollected poems, and closes with another 24 of translations from the Portuguese of Sophia de Mello Breyner, the Mexican Spanish of Victor Manuel Mendiola, and the Theban Plays of Sophocles.

Swamplandia!, By Karen Russell

Russell's distinctive short-story debut St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves kicked off with a series of Florida swampland-based stories. Now readers can sink their teeth into this eccentric and exuberant first novel about a failing alligator theme park and the family that run it.

Heads Up: Operashots

A Python and a Police man call all the shots

Fan tracks down lost stories of Daphne Du Maurier

Newly rediscovered tales by the author of 'Rebecca' are acclaimed as 'gothic, suspenseful and macabre'

Mirren and Lumley to read girls' tales

Dame Helen Mirren and Joanna Lumley are to summon up the "jolly hockey sticks" era for BBC Radio 4 with a season of classic girls' school tales. The stories include Enid Blyton's The Cheat and will be broadcast over three days next month.

There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour's Baby, By Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, trans. Keith Gessen and Anna Summers

Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, the grande dame of Russian letters, won the 2010 World Fantasy Award for this collection of short stories, subtitled "Scary Fairy Tales". While all the pieces, written over the last three decades, have some elements of mystery, their inherent realism is equally powerful. The strength of these dark modern fables is the author's ability to weave the extraordinary into the everyday without making the former an end in itself.

Lying Together, By Gaynor Arnold

Short and bittersweet stories

Shaun Ryder's lyrical confusion

Shaun Ryder doesn't understand his own songs.

First Thrills, Edited by Lee Child

Twenty-five twisted imaginations

The end for Poe's mysterious mourner

A mysterious visitor to Edgar Allan Poe's grave has failed to show up for the second year in a row.

Give Me Your Heart: tales of mystery & suspense, By Joyce Carol Oates

When the heart skips a beat

Modern novels: They're big, but they're not always clever

When did the modern novel get so long and unwieldy? Sometimes the best things come in small packages, says Arifa Akbar

Wallander's last stand: Katy Guest's essential literary look-ahead

Henning Mankell wraps up the detective's final case, plus new work from Ali Smith, Graham Swift, Joyce Carol Oates and a host of others looks set to make this a thrilling year for readers

'You're like Scrooge': Award-winning writer Jackie Kay presents her exclusive festive short story

Friendship is a wonderful thing, but sometimes you just want to be alone. And some of those times happen to be Christmas. The award-winning poet-novelist Jackie Kay presents 'Home-Alone Christmas', a festive short story written exclusively for 'The New Review'
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