Financial Times

Review: Golden Hill

Not long after arriving in New York, fresh off the London boat, our hero Robert Smith goes to church. In 1746, the town is still in miniature, populated by a mere “six thousand souls”, many of whom are also saying their prayers. The scene allows author Francis Spufford to lay out his wares, presenting a dissection of New York society taking their places in the pews, from the Governor and his two African footmen “with wigs powdered to the colour of icing sugar”, to “a choir of blue-coated orphans
The Guardian

Long Read: The clean, green and slightly bonkers world of CBeebies

The feeling of despair that descends on hearing the theme tune of the CBeebies television show Me Too! is unmistakable. At 6am, it is the first show on the schedule of the BBC’s dedicated channel for the under-sixes, and if you find yourself watching it, a series of bleak assumptions can be made. First, you’re up too early. Second, you’ve capitulated, turning on the TV in the hope of silencing your offspring and going back to sleep. Third, even if you do manage to lose consciousness again, your
The Guardian

Long Read: What should we do about paedophiles?

A photograph of Aaron Collis regularly appeared in the press while he was on trial. It showed a young man in a crowd of friends, whose faces have been pixelated to preserve their anonymity, and it appears to capture a moment of celebration. The group are bunched together, arms in the air, all wearing the same white shirts and roughly knotted blue-and-red striped ties. They could be in school uniform, or party costume. Collis is looking up at the camera, a wide smile exposing a top row of pointed
Harper's Bazaar

Robin Wright: cover story

On a cool winter evening, Robin Wright takes a seat at a corner table in her local New York bar, orders a glass of full-bodied red and exhales. "It has been a long week." Wright doesn't look tired – she has the kind of internally illuminated, Californian complexion that makes you doubt if such a state were possible. And there are reasons to celebrate. That morning
Financial Times

Review: The Sunlight Pilgrims

The temperature drops by 50C over the course of Jenni Fagan’s new novel. The Sunlight Pilgrims begins, in the autumn of 2020, at a chilling minus six, and by late March and the end of the book has descended to an unsurvivable minus 56C. There’s a giant iceberg looming off the coast of Scotland, schools have closed and people are freezing to death in their homes and their cars, lost in snowdrifts that rise up above windows. This is climate change made palpably, physically real: not a policy issue
Financial Times

Review: The Portable Veblen

Once, love stories led up to a ring. Elizabeth McKenzie’s new novel begins with one: “a diamond so large it would be a pill to avoid for those who easily gag”. The metaphor speaks for itself. Veblen Amundsen-Hovda, who has just been proposed to by her boyfriend Paul Vreeland, has mixed feelings about marriage. Veblen, named by her impossible and hypochondriac mother Melanie after the anti-consumerist 19th-century philosopher Thorstein Veblen, is as unconventional as her name suggests. She is a
Harper's Bazaar

Alicia Vikander: cover story

Not long ago, the Swedish actress Alicia Vikander got locked out of her north-London flat. She knocked on the neighbour's door, hoping for help, and the neighbour's son promptly leapt from the first floor onto her balcony below, where she'd left the door open. He was so thrilled by his feat that he ran straight out the front door, yelling: 'I did it!', only for the door to shut behind him, locking her out again.
Harper's Bazaar

Rachel Weisz: cover story

There is a circus in Chiswick, says Rachel Weisz, to beat all circuses. It's not your average big-tent affair – morose animals, sparkly leotards – but a wonderland. There are Middle Eastern funk bands and African acrobats, clowns (proper clowns, not the disturbing, flower-squirting imitations). It's the best live show she's ever seen, she says. Weisz is utterly seduced. Sitting in a comically oversize chair in a Camden pub near her London home, drinking milky breakfast tea, she is momentarily seized by a desire to juggle. 'I'd love to join the circus,' she says.
New York Times

Sue Webster's second course

First, make a bed: chives, spring onions, peas, asparagus, lettuce. Rip the leaves apart with your hands. Chop the vegetables. Then, place the skins of two gray squirrels on top of the bed, facing each other, their pulpy entrails arranged so it looks like their stomachs are conjoined. Stuff their heads with radishes to make their eyes glow red. Finally, christen your work. “Two Lovers Entwined,” says the British artist Sue Webster, looking down with fondness at the squirrels, purchased from a nearby butcher.
The Gentlewoman

Saoirse Ronan: cover story

The twelfth edition of The Gentlewoman brings together a scintillating line-up of charismatic and cosmopolitan women, all interviewed in locations of their choosing. We spend a day on the Irish coast with actor Saoirse Ronan, the luminous cover star of this season’s issue, an afternoon at a south London snooker hall in the company of prodigious cross-genre musician Mica Levi and teatime on the Upper East Side of New York, chit-chatting with the renowned astrologer Susan Miller. Then it’s straigh
The Guardian

Long Read: Is Richard Dawkins destroying his reputation?

In Dublin, not long ago, Richard Dawkins visited a steakhouse called Darwin’s. He was in town to give a talk on the origins of life at Trinity College with the American physicist Lawrence Krauss. In the restaurant, a large model gorilla squatted in a corner and a series of sepia paintings of early man hung in the dining room – though, Dawkins pointed out, not quite in the right chronological order. A space by the bar had been refitted to resemble the interior of the Beagle, the vessel on which C
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