Fame and its pursuers

By Stoddard Martin, November 5, 2015

One associates struggling young writers with Parisian garrets and La Bohème, but Vienna of the fin-de-siècle was perhaps their great heyday. Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Stefan Zweig apprenticed themselves there.


Review: Abraham and his Son

By Simon Rocker, October 29, 2015

By James Goodman
Sandstone Press, £16.99

The Binding of Isaac, Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son, is one of the Bible's most iconic episodes. It is read from the Torah over the High Holy Days and even in the daily morning liturgy in some prayer books.


Review: Raphael Lemkin and the Struggle for the Genocide Convention

By David Conway, October 29, 2015

By John Cooper
Palgrave Macmillan, £19.99

Genocide is rarely out of the news these days, a sad reflection of the sorry state of the modern world. This makes John Cooper's book welcome and timely.


Roots of defection, routes of departure

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 21, 2015

Why do Jews turn their backs on their religious and communal heritage and, in extreme cases, convert to other religions? Professor Todd Endelman sets out to answer these questions but - as he admits - the research is hampered both by the anecdotal, frequently suspect and inherently biased nature of some of the biographical evidence and by the lack of systematic quantitative data.


Point and counterpoint

By Norman Lebrecht, October 21, 2015

Children of the StoneBy Sandy Tolan
Bloomsbury, £17.99
Reviewed by Norman Lebrecht

A London orchestral violinist I know spends her summer leave working with cancer kids in Africa. A French bassoonist takes a 100-kilometre run in support of an educational mission. An Australian violinist volunteers for Médecin sans Frontières.


Crime fiction: Swedish slaughter

By Alan Montague, October 21, 2015

Sweden lost one of its major crime writers earlier this month with the death of Henning Mankell. So no more detective Kurt Wallender. Can Kristina Ohlsson's hero Alex Recht help fill the gap?


The Jews in Poland and Russia: A Short History

By Lawrence Joffe, October 15, 2015

By Antony Polonsky
Littman Library, £24.95

The ancestors of most Jews today once lived between Poland and Russia and, from the 17th century, they formed the world's largest Jewish community.


Review: The Marriage of Opposites

By Jennifer Lipman, October 15, 2015

By Alice Hoffman
Simon & Schuster

Best-selling American author Alice Hoffman's latest novel, The Marriage of Opposites, is a fictionalised retelling of how the artist Camille Pissarro - born Jacob Abraham Camille on the Caribbean island of St Thomas - became one of the most influential Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.


Penguins on board

By Angela Kiverstein, October 15, 2015

Meet at the Ark at Eight, Noah's dove tells the two penguins. But they can't abandon their friend, penguin number three. So these anarchic little creatures - deceptively cute in Jorg Muhle's illustrations - knock their pal unconscious and smuggle him on board. And suddenly they are having a theological debate. Does God exist? If so, why did He make penguins look like birds but smell like fish?


Interview: Joanne Limburg

By Anne Garvey, October 8, 2015

Joanne Limburg is primarily a poet. She has an original imagination, perfect economy of expression and a very precise turn of phrase. And she is a writer of parts.