Books of the month: From Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton to Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry

Martin Chilton reviews the biggest new books for March in our monthly column

Monday 06 March 2023 06:30 GMT
A selection of the most exciting books set for release this month
A selection of the most exciting books set for release this month (iStock/The Independent)

The Victorians in charge of evaluating corpse status – men, all men, of course – decreed that George Eliot was not to be buried in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey, citing her “notorious antagonism to Christian practice in regard to marriage”. In a sensitive, thorough new biography, The Marriage Question: George Eliot’s Double Life (Allen Lane), Clare Carlisle, professor of philosophy at King’s College London, offers an intriguing guide to the Middlemarch author’s own struggles with the issues of desire, creativity and sacrifice, themes that fed into the dark marriage plots of her magnificent novels.

For those with an interest in endangered species, Tom Moorhouse’s Ghosts in the Hedgerow: A Hedgehog WhoDunnit (Doubleday) is a caring, amiable guide to who (and what) is responsible for the worrying decline of this cute mammal.

If you are concerned about the dangers of private care and the threats to the NHS, then Dr Ricardo Nuila’s The People’s Hospital: The Real Cost of Life in an Uncaring Health System (Abacus), written by an attending physician in a Texas medical centre, offers a nightmare portrait of how a healthcare system is debased when it is built solely for profit.

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