Somebody please hand me a glossary of terrible non-puns from the 1910s, although no post-rationalisation is going to save this dip into the addled mind of a bureaucratic toff. By the author of some very good novels as well as this one. Dot and carry one, WHATEVER THAT MEANS. Photo: touchedmuch

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Part one of Pat Barker’s justly renowned trilogy about WWI (re)introduces us to Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, Wilfred Owen, Dr William Rivers and Billy Prior – all men who have been changed beyond recognition by a new, modern mode of civilisation destruction – wash, rinse, repeat. With additional cameos by Erich Maria Remarque and Modris…

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Elena is friends with Lila, whom hurts Elena in all kinds of ways that Elena finds fascinating, and painful. Slums, slums, slums, creepy older men, and not a single moment of levity. Prepare yourself.

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Jan and Dirk were inseparable as teenagers, right up till the moment they separated. That didn’t end the friendship, though, which lives on even as the two grow estranged from one another. Read Eric’s interview in The Guardian about the writing of The School of Velocity. And buy it here: Or from Amazon.com:

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Part Two of Ghosh’s ‘Ibis’ Trilogy looks at the run-up to the Opium Wars. From Bombay to Canton, Mauritius to Malacca – set sail for adventure, knowledge, and a number of excellent descriptions of the twists and turns of the early 18th century, globalised drug trade.

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New Jersey stands in for Algeria, not that Frank Bascombe would have noticed, living the good life and everything’s okay and nothing bears too much looking into – like the giant chasm of nothingness opening up beneath his feet. With guest appearances from Steinbeck, Faulkner and AC himself.

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In the quiet Jura region of France, a physician goes completely haywire in a series of crimes that are hard for his friends and acquaintances to grasp. But then their grasp loosens further. And disappears altogether. Because the man at the centre, the man they thought they knew, turns out to be a dangerous and…

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Tender Asher Lev has a gift – he can draw exceptionally well – and a drive to be an artist. Everyone around him has a drive to make him into a leader in the Ladover Hasidic community, spreading the word of Ladover Hasidism to the far corners of the world. Something has to give. It…

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Monk on the run in 14th Century England has more to worry about than building himself a time machine to get out of 14th Century England. Obviously kidding about the sci-fi bit because this is Barry Unsworth. The book is the time machine. The moral of the story is less story, more moral. Photo Douglas…

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