Books

A brilliant, angry and divided self

By Kate Saunders, January 4, 2013

Only two? Jonathan Miller, famous practically since puberty, first burst upon the world as part of the legendary Beyond the Fringe team.

The reinvention of British comedy would be enough for most people, but Miller was running a concurrent career as a neurologist and also displaying his transformative genius as a director of theatre, television and opera.

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Stripped of conventional, high-cultural aspirations

By Stoddard Martin, January 4, 2013

"Naked” connotes truth. “Nude” was about beauty. Naked Nude thus confronts an old urge to the transcendent with uglier fact. That is the theme of this seductive book. Modernism is the crux: a movement which saw two millennia of classical standards as constricting and prohibitive.

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Devotion and dispute

By Emma Klein, January 4, 2013

Selina O’Grady’s fascinating 'Kings, Cults and Conquests at the Time of Jesus' (Atlantic, £20), focuses on identity and the interrelationship between politics and religion in a wide spectrum of societies around the outset of the Common Era.

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Horizontal horizons

By Anthony Rudolf, December 21, 2012

At the heart of this fine and moving book by a highly respected American Jewish psychoanalyst living in London is a universal theme that itself is at the heart of human existence: how change involves loss.

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Swift defeat sees Nazis in London

By Jenni Frazer, December 21, 2012

Recent literature has been full of “what-iffery” writing about the possible dystopian results of a German victory in the Second World War. From Martin Amis to Robert Harris, this is a well-trodden path, and, it has to be conceded, not one that wins universal applause.

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Reasons why ice is nice

By Robert Low, December 14, 2012

Asked to name their favourite season, I suspect most Britons would opt for spring or summer, but Adam Gopnick unhesitatingly picks winter. He grew up in Canada, where the snow comes early, lies thick on the ground and stays around until spring, shaping every facet of life.

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Vivid, violent comedy of terrors

By Madeleine Kingsley, December 14, 2012

The start of A M Homes’s new novel, is truly to die for: the action is murderous, and the shattering of successful lives delivered with g-force intensity. Homes sets brothers Harry and George Silver (an Esau and Jacob of the heavily health-insured, SUV generation) against each other.

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Irish eyes unsmiling

By Jenni Frazer, December 14, 2012

During the Second World War, Ireland was officially neutral. But, shockingly, its proximity to the British mainland had made it an attractive pre-war base for Nazi Party officials, some of whom found a ready ear for hatred of the Jews among the priestocracy of the Irish Free State.

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A Hebrew text message

By Natasha Lehrer, December 7, 2012

In this provocative, playful, speculative journey through the rich, centuries-old heritage of Jewish literature, father and daughter Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger propose a “textline” rather than a bloodline — a notion of Jewish lineage that is etched not in blood but in words, spoken and written.

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Smoking gun in Golders Green and Gaza

By Zoe Strimpel, December 7, 2012

In financial circles, “dead cat bounce” means a brief period of recovery in the price a declining stock. It’s safe to say that Seth Freedman, a former City trader and author of a book about drugs in the Square Mile pre-crash, knows a thing or two about plummeting stock.

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