A history of one aspect of the Nazi genocide is brought to present day Parisian suburbs via a massacre in an Algerian village. Extremism, integration, ghettos, religion – all the elements are refashioned to their new context. A memorably good book by an excellent writer and thinker. Fresh. Photo – John Perivolaris

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Author David Lodge stars as his thinly disguised protagonist, Old Man Bates, who is entering retirement, uselessness, and, worst of all, permanent deafness, in this tragi-comi-tragic tale of David Lodge, starring as his protagonist. Largely good. Picture by clogsilk

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One of the world’s great authors goes back in time and space – from the Jerusalem of the 1940s to the Eastern Europe of the 19th Century, from a boy’s heart to a mother’s face to a father’s brain – and brings back everything, but not enough. Cuts close and hurts so good. Wizardly? Masterful.…

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The name Michael Arlen will mean nothing to most readers but Arlen was once the cream of the jazz age novelists, the envy of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Maugham, the owner of speedboats and a villa on the Mediterranean. Then he fell completely into obscurity. By the time his son was born, the golden days were…

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At the end of his days, sitting in his villa outside Rome, the Emperor Hadrian writes a long letter to his adopted son, and next great leader of Rome, Marcus Aurelius. In Hadrian’s world, thoughts duel with power, ideas with reality, books with life. Aurelius often gets praise as the first philosopher king, but in…

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Fall forward into one of the stranger stories you’ll encounter this year – or any other. Maxi, a young man from the middle classes of Buenos Aires, collects used cardboard, lifts weights, busts a drug ring, but can’t seem to surprise a sleeping street kid. Makes sense, right? No? Who cares – no plot outline…

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A novel that includes displaced persons, new countries, war, Cyprus, the OED, Venice, Blood Libel and Othello – this should be sweet. So why does it all taste so healthy? Caryl Phillips sucks all the sugar out of what should be a thrilling experience. Why? Granola. Photo by Ivan Lian

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