Books

Review: History of a Suicide

By Hester Abrams, March 12, 2015

By Jill Bialosky
Granta, £16.99

This is a beautiful and shattering book that brings down from heaven a woman from Cleveland, Ohio, on the cusp of adulthood, who loved cats and piggyback rides and longed for a father.

Jill Bialosky reconstructs the story of her 21-year-old sister Kim, youngest of four, whose bright future ended one April morning in 1990 when she was found dead in her

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Pining for the past

By Jennifer Lipman, March 12, 2015

There are better candidates for the role of a modern-day Job than Duncan Neville, but his luck isn't wonderful all the same. Duncan, the protagonist of Widows and Orphans (Arcadia, £14.99), Michael Arditti's ninth novel, is an earnest, good-hearted chap suffering largely for being out of kilter with his time and for never escaping his father's imposing shadow.

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Review: Three Faces of an Angel

By Stoddard Martin, March 12, 2015

By Jiri Pehe
Jantar Publishing, £18

You do not have to twist yourself into an avant garde posture to read this book. It is a straightforward novel in successive voices about the tribulations of the past century, from a Czech point of view. You could say Bohemian, because the echt profile of that country is mixed, in language and ethnicity.

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Rhapsody of reading

By Gerald Jacobs, March 5, 2015

Saturday night and The Genius of Gershwin. It was an audacious and imaginative decision to launch this year's Jewish Book Week with the sound of the composer of Rhapsody in Blue.

Yet, by the festival's close last Sunday, it was another colour that had registered vividly in my mind.

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Review: The Faithful Couple

By Hephzibah Anderson, March 5, 2015

By AD Miller
Little, Brown, £16.99

AD Miller's first book, The Earl of Petticoat Lane, was a shmatte-to-riches family memoir, charting his grandfather's rise via the knickers business from barrow-boy to society ball-goer.

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Review: Leaving Berlin

By David Herman, March 5, 2015

By Joseph Kanon
Simon & Schuster, £12.99

Joseph Kanon has written six novels, all set in the dark years following 1945, and taking a real event - the Potsdam Conference, the Manhattan Project - as the background for a murder case.

Leaving Berlin, Kanon's latest, is set in Berlin in 1948, at the time of the Berlin Airlift and the escalation of the Cold War.

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Dilemma of a tough attorney

March 5, 2015

In Hesh Kestin's new thriller, The Lie (Scribe, £8.99), Dahlia Barr, a feisty Israeli lawyer, specialises in defending Palestinians accused of terrorism. She is shrewd, brash, tough and doesn't suffer fools.

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The drama of real life

By John Nathan, February 27, 2015

I admit to having developed a cynicism about actors’ memoirs. Not content with the drama of the lives they inhabit on stage or screen, they then have to serve up their own lives as drama, too, the vainglorious bastards.

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Untold story of our double-cross spy

By Nigel West, February 26, 2015

This is the remarkable story of Renato Levi, an Italian Jew born in 1902 in Genoa, where his mother, the actress Dolores Domenici, owned the Hotel Select. She also owned the Hotel Miramare in Rapallo. He held a British passport, was educated in Switzerland during the First World War, later travelled to Sydney, and his family owned a boat-building business in Bombay.

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A political triumph? Don't make me laugh!

By Sam Delaney, February 26, 2015

Humour in political advertising can come in many forms. Look up the crackly old black-and-white broadcast from 1950s British election campaigns and you will get a lot of laughs out of Harold McMillan's stilted, confused performances.

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