Critics have painted the town red over Celia Paul's Self-Portrait (Jonathan Cape), declaring it "fascinating", a "myth about the misuse of fame and the male ego", and "pitilessly honest". Her turbulent relationship with Lucien Freud is a centre point of the memoir, with Ysenda Maxtone Graham stating in the Daily Mail, "You watch a woman being gradually eviscerated by love-torture," and the Spectator's Honor Clerk writing, "Among Freud’s myriad relations, lovers and friends, none can have brought a reader so close to him, none can have detailed so tellingly the fluctuating dynamic of magnetism and despair, the assertion of will in the face of domination." The Guardian's Frances Spalding described Self-Portrait as "fresh", and "comes as a surprise", adding, "Her views, both intimate and yet more distant and independent, enable her to recall hidden aspects of Freud’s life, his vulnerability, vanity, tenderness and undoubted need of her, as well as his brutality towards women."
Philippe Lancon's Disturbance: Surviving Charlie Hebdo (Europa), translated by Steven Rendall, also won acclaim, with the Evening Standard's David Sexton describing it as "engrossing, beautifully written book" and "not just a remarkable document but an inspiration to others in quite different plights," adding, "Nothing else has touched me in quite the same way this year." In the Spectator, Douglas Murray declared it "a magnificent tribute. Not just to Lançon’s murdered journalistic colleagues, but to the whole threatened tribe," and Andrew Anthony in the Guardian felt similarly, writing, "Without resorting to polemic, it’s an argument in favour of the intellectual life, of ideas as beautiful abstractions, weaponised only as satire, never as terror. It feels reassuringly rarefied, like an old-fashioned French talking-heads movie."
Martin Cruz Smith's The Siberian Dilemma (S&S) brought the reviewers in from the cold, with Adam LeBor in the Financial Times writing that the novel was "Cruz Smith at his best: ace storytelling with dry, laconic dialogue and a crumpled but courageous hero," and the New York Times' Marilyn Stasio praising the author's "lucid prose, surprising imagery and realistic dialogue", which "all serve his engrossing storytelling".
Kiera O'Brien, charts and data editor, The Bookseller