Guardian and Observer book reviews (without Amazon lookup)

see blog post for more information

Absolution by Patrick Flanery

Review by Adam O'Riordan - from The Observer

A literary thriller intersecting lives in a South Africa torn apart by struggle evokes Graham Greene, writes Adam O'Riordan

Full review

The Selected Letters of Charles Dickens, edited by Jenny Hartley; Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World by Simon Callow

Review by Peter Conrad - from The Observer

Callow's spirited salute to Dickens misses the darker depths revealed in the great man's letters, finds Peter Conrad

Full review

The Man Without A Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin by Masha Gessen

Review by James Meek - from The Observer

James Meek applauds a courageous book that delves into the Russian prime minister's shady past

Full review

Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation by Rachel Cusk

Review by Julie Burchill - from The Observer

Rachel Cusk's memoir of the breakdown of her marriage is a masterclass in emotional dissection, writes Julie Burchill

Full review

Collected Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer

Review by Anthony Cummins - from The Observer

These peculiar tales of life in eastern Europe showcase Isaac Bashevis Singer's genius for storytelling, writes Anthony Cummins

Full review

Jackson Pollock by Evelyn Toynton

Review by Christopher Bray - from The Observer

Evelyn Toynton's portrait of Jackson Pollock reveals the artist in complex, colourful detail, writes Christopher Bray

Full review

The Last Interview and Other Conversations by Kurt Vonnegut, edited by Tom McCartan

Review by Killian Fox - from The Observer

A collection of interviews with Kurt Vonnegut displays his dark wit to the full, writes Killian Fox

Full review

Moby-Duck by Donovan Hohn

Review by Alexander Larmen - from The Observer

Alexander Larmen enjoys a bizarre cautionary tale that tracks thousands of plastic ducks around the world

Full review

New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families by Colm Tóibín

Review by Adam Mars-Jones - from The Observer

In mapping out literature's family tree, Colm Tóibín can't help but bend a branch or two to his will, says Adam Mars-Jones

Full review

Boredom: A Lively History by Peter Toohey

Review by Helen Zaltzman - from The Observer

Helen Zaltzman is diverted by Peter Toohey's study of tedium and ennui

Full review

The Library Book, edited by Rebecca Gray

Review by William Skidelsky - from The Observer

Stephen Fry, Zadie Smith et al contribute to this heartfelt set of essays on the importance of libraries, writes William Skidelsky

Full review

Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville

Review by Belinda McKeon - from The Guardian

Kate Grenville draws on her ancestors' stories. By Belinda McKeon

Full review

The English Monster by Lloyd Shepherd

Review by Judith Flanders - from The Guardian

Flamboyant and melodramatic, this book offers a solution to some real-life murders in the East End of London in 1811

Full review

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Review by Carrie O'Grady - from The Guardian

This magical tale of the Alaskan frontier is refreshingly ungilded

Full review

The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman

Review by Jay Parini - from The Guardian

This subtle meditation on the healing powers of storytelling is impressive

Full review

Child: New and Selected Poems 1991-2011 by Mimi Khalvati

Review by Charles Bainbridge - from The Guardian

Charles Bainbridge celebrates a work of domestic intimacy

Full review

The House That Groaned by Karrie Fransman

Review by Rachel Cooke - from The Observer

A house's oddball occupants jump off the page in Karrie Fransman's bleak yet beautiful graphic novel, writes Rachel Cooke

Full review

Capital by John Lanchester

Review by Theo Tait - from The Guardian

Theo Tait weighs up John Lanchester's panoramic survey of the London bubble

Full review

The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend

Review by Alex Clark - from The Guardian

Sue Townsend's latest heroine intrigues Alex Clark

Full review

Suddenly, a Knock on the Door by Etgar Keret

Review by Ian Sansom - from The Guardian

Ian Sansom salutes a c0llection of short stories that brims with invention

Full review

Wired for Culture by Mark Pagel

Review by Julian Baggini - from The Guardian

Julian Baggini on an account of what separates men from the beasts ... and other men

Full review

Wilkie Collins by Peter Ackroyd

Review by Kathryn Hughes - from The Guardian

Kathryn Hughes on an underpowered life of an author who is more interesting than ever

Full review

New Ways to Kill Your Mother by Colm Tóibín

Review by Tessa Hadley - from The Guardian

Tessa Hadley celebrates the work of a writer and critic who is bold, innovative and funny

Full review

Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan 1979-89 by Rodric Braithwaite

Review by - from The Guardian

by Ian Pindar

Full review