Books & Lit

The American Lover by Rose Tremain review loners, London and lust

This collection of short stories about isolation and loneliness is powerful and wide-ranging.

A Different Class of Murder - Laura Thomson

On 7 November 1974, a nanny named Sandra Rivett was bludgeoned to death in a Belgravia basement. A second woman, Veronica, Countess of Lucan, was also attacked. The man named in court as perpetrator of these crimes, Richard John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan

Balancing Act by Joanna Trollope review Observes the subtleties of conversation with unmatched attention to detail

The arrival of an estranged father threatens the delicate equilibrium between the mother and daughters who run a successful business.

‘Funny Girl’, by Nick Hornby

In his first novel for five years, the author turns his attention to swinging London and 1960s light entertainment.

‘Stalin, Volume 1’, by Stephen Kotkin

Did the crimes of Stalin represent a betrayal of the Russian Revolution – or a continuation of it? A new biography suggests the latter.

‘The Game of Our Lives’, by David Goldblatt

How the creation of the Premier League restored football’s fortunes – at a price.

‘Some Luck’, by Jane Smiley

A farming family adapts to changing times in the first part of an Iowa trilogy.

‘F’, by Daniel Kehlmann

A mind-bendingly circular tale of three brothers intrigues.

In These Times: Living in Britain Through Napoleon's Wars by Jenny Uglow, book review: Bliss was it to be alive, even in a war

As William Wordsworth wrote about the French Revolution in The Prelude: “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,/But to be young was very heaven!”

Emma: a Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith, review: 'hastily written'

Alexander McCall Smith's attempt to transplant 'Emma' into the modern world isn't radical enough.