Patrick deWitt. Photograph: Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

Gormenghast meets The Grand Budapest Hotel, with guest appearances from Kafka at his most lighthearted, in this playfully black comedy of dubious mann(...)

Not far off 200 pages into Jonathan Franzen’s very long – and, to be honest, exhausting – new saga, the back history of one of the characters is being(...)

Intent on feeling, Bill Clegg is clearly unafraid of melodrama and sentimentality; more talented writers have shown less courage. Photograph: Getty Images

On the morning of her daughter’s wedding, June Reid, entirely by chance, eludes a devastating accident. Problems of her own have kept her brooding out(...)

Pat Barker. Photograph: Ellen Warner

A trio of characters first encountered some years ago as aspiring artists are now encountering another World War and this time one much closer to h(...)

Just when you may have mistakenly begun to feel that every story has been told, any lingering feeling analysed and each remaining tiny fear picked (...)

History at its most ambivalent emerges as the prevailing theme of this clever novel from the consistently astute and witty Justin Cartwright. Born and(...)

Courage: a likeable, amoral, three-dimensional rogue who inspired Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and her Children nearly 300 years later. Photograph: Getty Images

A chance reference to a woman of easy virtue in his picaresque classic Simplicissimus, first published in German in 1668, was developed by Johann Grim(...)

Oleg Erdmann, a young film-maker, dreams of recreating the life of Catherine the Great, empress of Russia. He wants to present the real woman, not the(...)

Anne Enright: The Green Road (Jonathan Cape)

Faint if distinct echoes of the Boston Tea Party may gleefully come to mind on perusing this year’s Man Booker longlist. Many traditionalists objecte(...)

Life is not going well for Sebastian Dangerfield, an American in postwar Dublin courtesy of the GI bill of rights, although his posh accent does pr(...)