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Victoria Segal

Into the Woods by John Yorke review

An experienced screenwriter and producer takes a scalpel to narrative structure an untangles the roots of storytelling John Yorke doesn't just want to tell his readers a story: he wants to tell them all stories, from Beowulf and The Godfather to that

O My America! by Sara Wheeler - review

This is a sensitive portrait of pioneering women such as Fanny Trollope who sought out new lives in the US "So little is ever said about the last grey chapters of female lives," writes Sara Wheeler, depressingly. Close to 50 herself, she became drawn to

Sex and the Citadel by Shereen El Feki - review

A brave book from the former vice-chair of the UN's Global Commission on HIV and the Law about sexual rights in Arab society Befriending a group of Cairo housewives, Shereen El Feki offered to buy them some "marital aids" on her next trip abroad. Che

Mad Girl's Love Song by Andrew Wilson - review

A generous biography that focuses on Sylvia Plath's writing and relationships before she met Ted Hughes In his introduction to Sylvia Plath 's Collected Poems , Ted Hughes identifies 1956 as the year his late wife left behind her juvenilia and embark

Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhardt by Robert Gottlieb - review

A hugely entertaining biography of the theatrical legend The official Parisian records of Sarah Bernhardt 's birth were lost in the fire that engulfed the Hotel de Ville during the Commune uprising of 1871. A suitably dramatic blaze, but no match for th

Winter by Adam Gopnik - review

In these chatty essays the New Yorker writer considers everything from firewood prices to ice hockey It's fitting that Adam Gopnik 's meditations on winter should have their origins in "five improvised living room lectures" delivered to friends and fami

Artful by Ali Smith - review

A fictional framework of grief and ghosts infuses these essays, originally given at Oxford in 2012, with a blood-warm intimacy The narrator of Ali Smith's free-floating book is in bits, haunted by the ghost of a dead lover who trails rubble, moves all th

The Lives of the Muses by Francine Prose – review

There can't be many parents who nurture the fervent hope their daughter will grow up to be a muse: to the modern ear, the word suggests a neurasthenic beauty lying on a chaise longue, a vision of supreme erotic passivity. As Francine Prose's nine biograph

The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton - review

A book that goes beyond cliche to view the world through a psychopath's eyes Thanks to the grisly antics of Hannibal Lecter and Patrick Bateman , the popular image of the psychopath is of the suave predator with a fondness for power tools and fava bea

Muckraker by W Sydney Robinson - review

It is tempting to use this biography of pioneering Victorian tabloid journalist WT Stead as a prism through which to view the post-Leveson world. What it underlines, however, is how warped the morality of other ages can appear from a distance, whether tha