The Dark Circle by Linda Grant review – heartbreak and hope in postwar London

It is the deeply involving physical reality of the Lynskeys’ confinement that draws us in effortlessly to the narrative, “the solid world of London dissolving” as the Gwendo’s doors close on them, and the painful sense of a wider world changing fast without them, that gives it weight. The novel does that world justice, too, […]

Maggie O’Farrell wins Women’s prize for fiction with ‘exceptional’ Hamnet

“I had this absolutely fantastic English teacher called Mr Henderson and I don’t think I would have written any books, certainly not this one, without the foundation of what he told me about literature when I was a teenager. The play itself got really under my skin – I think it does appeal to this […]

A charming film about disability that stays the right side of mawkish: BRIAN VINER reviews Come As You Are

Different time, different country, but in striking ways similar to Pather Panchali, Nadine Labaki’s mesmerising, partly improvised film is set in Beirut, where a resourceful street urchin sues his parents for bringing him into such a miserable world. It’s heart-rending but uplifting.

Reinventing Philip Marlowe

All this seems hardly the typical apprenticeship of a crime writer, and certainly not of one who began his career by churning out hard-boiled stories for Black Mask and other pulp magazines that were so popular at the time. But then crime writing was a last resort for him. All his life he not only […]