Review: Friendly Fire

By David Herman, October 23, 2008

By AB Yehoshua
Halban, £12.99 

It is more than 50 years since AB Yehoshua published his first short stories. He belongs to a generation of Israeli writers who, in his words, helped "consolidate and mould the Israeli identity". Yehoshua recently wrote a fascinating essay about this generation (which also included Appelfeld and Oz). The reason they spoke to readers, he said, is because of the balance they found between "the revealed and the hidden".


Review: A Treaty Of Love

By Madeleine Kingsley, October 17, 2008

By Samir El-Youssef
Halban, £12.99

First, you hope that Israeli Ruth and Palestinian Ibrahim - the displaced lovers of Samir El-Youssef's new novel - will work through their differences and triumph, that their "treaty of love" will symbolise the making of peace in the Middle East. "London is so big," says Ruth, "big enough to make us forget that we belong to hostile people."


Thomas Keneally: How I found Schindler

By Brenda Maddox, October 17, 2008

A handbag? Thomas Keneally's account of stumbling on the story of Schindler's list in an American handbag shop irresistibly evokes the tones of Lady Bracknell .

But that is how it happened. In 1980, Keneally was in Beverly Hills waiting for his return flight to Sydney. Wandering into "The Handbag Studio", he met the Jewish proprietor, who sold him a calfskin black briefcase and introduced himself as Leopold Page.


Imaginary strolls with Herzl

By Martin Gilbert, October 10, 2008

Many books have been written about the history of Zionism and the creation of Israel. Bernard Zissman's Herzl's Journey: Conversations with a Zionist Legend (Devora, £14.95) is one of the most readable. Taking as his method a series of imaginary meetings and conversations with Theodor Herzl, the champion of political Zionism, Zissman reveals many facets of the long Zionist struggle and brings us into the present day with considerable skill.


Street battles recalled from 90 years ago

By John Nathan, October 10, 2008

They do say that long-term memory is stronger than short-term memory. But you can't help wondering whether it is possible for a man of 97 to have total recall about his early childhood, as in Harry Bernstein's first memoir, or even his adolescence, remembered in his second.


Review: The Believers

By Madeleine Kingsley, October 10, 2008

By Zoe Heller
Fig Tree, £16.99


Review: Man in the Dark

By David Herman, October 3, 2008

By Paul Auster
Faber and Faber, £14.99

Paul Auster's thin new novel starts off as a story within a story. This is not news for Auster fans (or critics). The author of The Brooklyn Follies enjoys these games.


Review: Pius XII: The Hound Of Hitler

By Stephen Games, October 3, 2008

By Gerard Noel
Continuum, £20

The title of Gerard Noel's new book about Catholicism's most controversial Pope seems to announce its conclusion before it has begun: that Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli, who occupied the papal throne from 1939-58) failed to denounce Hitler or lead the Church in any opposition to Nazism. Yet it is also an attempt to redeem him.


Finding the faith in India

By Francesca Segal, September 26, 2008


Review: Excavating Kafka

By Nicholas Murray, September 25, 2008

By James Hawes
Quercus, £14.99

Milan Kundera, impatient at the excesses of Kafka critics, once lambasted what he called "Kafkology". Without the former's elegance of style but with plenty of chutzpah, novelist and former academic Germanist James Hawes has produced an indictment of what he calls "the K.myth".

Hawes says we need to read Kafka the real writer, not the creature of "myth", and get as close as we can to "the clean, beautiful originals" in brand new translations of the original German.