Critics praise Shipstead's Great Circle as one of the novels of the year
10th May 2021
Maggie Shipstead's Great Circle (Doubleday), which weaves together the lives of two women, has been greeted with a wall of praise, with several critics hailing it as one of the novels of the year...
"Shipstead, who has previously written sharp, elegant novels about dinner parties and ballet, turns phrases and observes people beautifully...."
— The Times
4.09 out of 5
Laurent Binet, Sam Taylor
"it’s tremendous fun..."
— The Guardian
3 out of 5
Under the Wave at Waimea
"... it works best if you don’t sweat the details too much and just let its wave sweep over you...."
— The Observer
"a damning picture of America’s Covid response..."
— The Sunday Times
3.33 out of 5
Books Do Furnish a Life
Richard Dawkins (Oxford University)
"Dawkins’s B-sides are still worth listening to..."
"a dramatic Second World War naval history..."
4.29 out of 5
"Looking into his ancestor’s lives, this journalist uncovered a horrific story of brutality and injustice..."
"The Lonely City author explores Wilhelm Reich’s insights into the physical impact of emotional pain in a deft book of many parts..."
3.89 out of 5
Mother May I
"Jackson follows her brilliantly unnerving Never Have I Ever with another battle of wits between a manipulative criminal and her victim. ..."
Elizabeth Miki Brina
"Elizabeth Miki Brina’s memoir about coming to terms with her Japanese-American heritage is warm and affecting..."
How the Just So Stories Were Made
"(A) concise and remarkable book...."
"assured and engrossing..."
Sebastian Fitzek, Steve Anderson
" Fitzek’s brainy thriller is always at risk of becoming impossible to take seriously..."
Notes on Grief
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
"a moving account of a daughter’s sorrow..."
"Bradby’s blend of le Carré espionage yarn with Michael Dobbs political thriller is a nifty and appealing concoction..."
"Morris’s splendid new book..."
The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock
"a fresh approach to The Birds director’s life..."
"The past haunts a woman’s return to the Colombian city in this engrossing tale..."
"Real Estate offers the same hard-won, lucid wisdom that made The Cost of Living essential reading for anyone who has a mother or is one. ..."
The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym
"Clever, funny and full of surprises, this true literary original leaps off the page in a wonderfully attentive biography..."
John Craxton: A Life of Gifts
"If this account is undoubtedly written with the warmth and empathy of friendship, it doesn’t shy away from the shadows. ..."
— The Spectator
Letters to Camondo
Edmund de Waal
"Edmund de Waal revisits Paris to tell the story of the banker, collector and family friend Count Moïse de Camondo and his tragic progeny..."
3.7 out of 5
"This tale of a wealthy widow and her Mayfair inheritance is a historical romp..."
"Serhii Plokhy’s book is remarkable and troubling..."
4.11 out of 5
"Elon Musk’s plans to colonise Mars are described in heroic terms by Eric Berger..."
A Lonely Man
"this is the slickest, smartest and most enjoyable novel I’ve read in years..."
4 out of 5
Finding the Mother Tree
"a journey of passion and introspection..."
Napoleon: A Life Told in Gardens
"Ruth Scurr approaches Bonaparte from an entirely novel angle..."
Not Even This
" he is a lucid and engaging companion..."
"Lahiri has spun a delicately layered story of a woman reflecting on her past, present and future..."
3.75 out of 5
William Blake vs the World
"John Higgs’s book lets in a glittering stream of revelatory light...."
The King's Painter
"Franny Moyle’s ambitious, sumptuously illustrated book..."
The Killing Kind
"Jane Casey constructs an intense, action-packed mystery out of emails, court documents and newspaper articles..."
Kjell Ola Dahl, Don Bartlett
"A gripping stand-alone thriller from a well-known Nordic-noir writer...."
The Accidental Footballer
"The charismatic Glasgow-born winger and indie music obsessive recalls his passions, and life in football before the riches arrived..."
The Wolf Den
"Vivid, wise and unflinching, this is a triumph...."
Maylis de Kerangal, Jessica Moore
"A celebration of the art of trompe-l’œil confirms this French prize winner as one of our most gifted stylists..."
The Foghorn's Lament
Jennifer Lucy Allan
"(An) original and absorbing book, which is much more interesting than a study of foghorns has any right to be..."
"a big, complex and utterly involving portrait of 19th-century China..."
Circus of Wonders
"beautifully written and filled with character and life..."
Six Tudor Queens: Katharine Parr
"a detailed and convincing portrait of an extraordinary life..."
Empire of Pain
Patrick Radden Keefe
"... (a) tour-de-force account..."
— Financial Times
4.71 out of 5
Malice in Wonderland
"Vickers brings out beautifully the charm and wit of Cooper. ..."
The Distant Dead
"it stands comparison with the early works of Sarah Waters and Barbara Vine...."
The Rules of Revelation
"McInerney is a richly savage writer and an incisive chronicler of her home country..."
Napoleon’s Plunder and the Theft of Ve...
"Saltzman’s forensic narrative..."
"Alec MacGillis offers a timely account of how the online giant has reshaped the US economy and wider society..."
The Case of the Married Woman
Lady Antonia Fraser
"a furious dissection of double standards – and a rousing study of a brave woman..."
— The Daily Telegraph
"a torturous history of the massacre..."
The Secret to Superhuman Strength
"In the space available to me here, I cannot hope to capture all that this extraordinarily generous and roomy book contains..."
I Belong Here
"a heartfelt examination of identity, place and belonging..."
4.78 out of 5
"Bathurst has a seemingly supernatural facility for getting people to speak to her honestly and movingly about the land and their place within it..."
Philip: The Final Portrait
"Brandreth explores a temperament on the brink of anger and agitation with immense tact, even affection...."
Early Morning Riser
"made me laugh out loud in recognition..."
"This is natural history as police procedural; and life on Earth as the scene of a crime...."
How to Love Animals in a Human-Shaped World
"a series of investigations, presented with humour and humility, into our contradictory relationships with pets, livestock and wildlife..."
How to Kidnap the Rich
"a fun, fast-paced debut..."
3.71 out of 5
Monica Jones, Philip Larkin and Me: Her ...
"Using unpublished letters, John Sutherland's book Monica Jones, Philip Larkin and Me reveals the tragic squandering of a brilliant woman..."
— The Sunday Telegraph
3.62 out of 5
"skilfully tracks the shifts and turns of the campaign, spares no detail..."
— Daily Mail
3.5 out of 5
In Love with Hell
"William Palmer offers a muddled portrait of 11 alcoholic writers, from Jean Rhys to Malcolm Lowry..."
3.43 out of 5
"Second Place glints with many of Cusk’s typically frosty pleasures..."
3.23 out of 5
The Bomber Mafia
"The pop science author calls 'Bomber' Harris a psychopath, in an error-prone history of Second World War bombing tactics..."
3.17 out of 5
"A study of horrible afflictions, from famines to pandemics, and our failure to learn from past mistakes..."
In the Thick of It
"The relentlessness of ministerial life is well captured..."
2.9 out of 5
4.47 out of 5
4.13 out of 5
No One Is Talking About This
3.84 out of 5
How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House
4.24 out of 5
The Vanishing Half
4.34 out of 5
4.25 out of 5
The Mirror and the Light
4.48 out of 5
A Thousand Ships
4.5 out of 5
Girl, Woman, Other
4.19 out of 5
3.92 out of 5
An American Marriage
4.79 out of 5
My Sister, the Serial Killer
4.05 out of 5
The Silence of the Girls
4.14 out of 5
4.45 out of 5
The Chief Witness
Sayragul Sauytbay, Alexandra Cavelius, Caroline Waight
"A nightmarish account of repression ..."
One of Them: An Eton College Memoir
"A self-confessed outsider's account of his time at the elite school is nuanced and warm rather than damning..."
Clive Bell and the Making of Modernism
Professor Mark Hussey (Professor of English, Pace University, USA, Pace University, USA)
"A revelatory biography of the Bloomsbury outsider and influential critic who championed modern art..."
4.2 out of 5
My Autobiography of Carson McCullers
"Jenn Shapland’s insistence on reducing Carson McCullers’s life story to a modish account of her sexuality makes no sense..."
"an interesting book..."
Come Fly the World
"a piece of storytelling, it is not without pockets of turbulence..."
Hawking Hawking: The Selling of a Scient...
"a biographer braver than most..."
The Letters of Thom Gunn
Thom Gunn, Michael Nott, August Kleinzahler, Clive Wilmer
"there is an impregnable poise to his epistolary voice..."
"What ultimately holds the book together, besides Bluestone’s dogged fascination with McFarland’s schemes, is the delicious sense of outrage that people are getting away with this..."
Living I Was Your Plague
"proves that a rigorously scholarly work can also be a pleasure to read..."
"This is a funny and bold novel about two very different Jewish men and traditions..."
The Sleeping Beauties
" It makes for a bracing read, a little like a cold shower on a hot summer’s day..."
Pedro and Ricky Come Again
"One of the foremost prose stylists of his age in any register, Meades has an especial ear for the brutal music of invective. ..."
4.17 out of 5
Places of the Mind
"an exceptionally fluent intellectual biography that synthesises the complex influences on his work while outlining the details of his life..."
A Cure for Darkness
"Riley’s volume is a valuable addition to a literature that will be especially needed as the pandemic recedes..."
"This fascinating study shows how the crime that most intrigues us is hard to define..."