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Fiction

The Fun Factory - Chris England

The Fun Factory is set in the golden decade before the Great War, when the music halls were the people's entertainment, before radio, television or cinema, and bigger than all of them. Arthur Dandoe is a gifted young comedian trying to make his way withi

The Fun Factory by Chris England review Charlie Chaplin as the baddie

A brilliantly readable debut about music hall skulduggery and Fred Karno's famous theatrical troupeArthur Dandoe must be spinning in his grave. His memoir's cover bears an image not of him in one of his many memorable roles, bestriding the stage as audie

‘The Last Lover’, by Can Xue

East meets west in a phantasmagorical tale from an avant-garde Chinese author

‘Unmanned’, by Dan Fesperman

A first-class thriller that explores how drones may spell the end of privacy

‘Poetry Notebook: 2006-2014’, by Clive James

The author looks back at the poets who have resonated with him over the years, from Walt Whitman to Sylvia Plath

The Peculiar Life of the Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault review

There is a charming playfulness to Thériault's prose in this well-executed story of love found through letters and deception.

The New World Andrew Motion's second Treasure Island sequel

With his followup to Silver, the former poet laureate has written a deeply felt and sincere homage to Robert Louis StevensonThe tide of crossover fiction continues unabated. Popularised for today's audience by JK Rowling and Philip Pullman, its origins

Revolution by Russell Brand review soft-soap therapy when we need a harder edge

His tract is heavy going, light on politics and, in places, beyond parody. Has the leader of the rebellion missed his moment?This time last year I hosted a Swedish academic who had come to Cambridge to give a talk about Montesquieu. Only she didn't wan

Wolf in White Van - John Darnielle

Welcome to Trace Italian, a game of strategy and survival! You may now make your first move. A terrible event leaves Sean Phillips disfigured when he is only seventeen. In the weeks that follow he creates an adventure game he calls the 'Trace Italian', wh

The Great Fire; Rachel Joyce; Richard Tuttle Review; Ayub Khan Din

With Samira Ahmed. Historian Justin Champion reviews a major new TV drama series set during the time of the Great Fire of London, when the country was at war and there were also fears of Catholic plots against King Charles II.