The Suitcase: Part Two

Frances Stonor Saunders

Amemory​ of my father spreading a map on the warm bonnet of the car, catching at its flapping corners in awkward gusts of Welsh wind. We are on a camping holiday, we are lost, and he is trying to tame the map so we don’t get loster. The high, solid hedgerows obscure the view and are not marked on the map. Nor are the wild raspberries that grow in the hedgerows. Nor is the weather. Nor...


In the Lab

Rupert Beale

On​ 29 July, I received ‘Coronavirus (Covid-19) update: issue 97’ from my university. I understand from dimly remembered friends and colleagues outside the Covidology bubble that 2020 hasn’t been much fun for them either. We’re all tetchy. Those of us who have been working round the clock on increasing testing capacity are also thoroughly exhausted. In March we ran on...

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Getting into Esports

John Lanchester

Iremember, back at the start of lockdown, trying to draw up a rough mental ledger of things I would miss. The idea was to try and anticipate difficulties so as not to be blindsided by them. My list was heartfelt but unoriginal and consisted mainly, now I look back at it, of various blessings of city life that I had come to take almost entirely for granted. Seeing friends. Going for a walk...

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You’ll like it when you get there

Tom Crewe

Interviewees describe brown hotels, leaking holiday cottages, caravans, walks and pebbled beaches and fields. Some rapturously, some ruefully. ‘I remember thinking, as we arrived at the stationary caravan at the far end of a field in Cornwall, maybe this will be the year when it’s going to be exciting or exotic,’ one says. If you did venture overseas, overcoming material and psychological barriers (‘Darling, going abroad is vulgar,’ John Mullan’s mother told him), you usually carried Britain with you – tinned. When Eleanor Oldroyd and her family went to France in 1972 they took a can of baked beans for every day of the holiday, 21 in all; her mother fitted them ‘around the wheel arch in the boot, along with the tinned mince and tinned Campbell’s soup’. When Juliet Gardiner went to Le Bourget on a school exchange, she presented her penfriend’s mother with a box of cornflakes. Still, Abroad could be a revelation. Harry Ritchie, from Kirkcaldy, went to Majorca in 1969: ‘Being able to take your clothes off for a holiday, rather than having to put more on: that was wonderful in itself.’

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Bridget Alsdorf

In Martin Scorsese​’s film adaptation of The Age of Innocence, facsimiles of James Tissot’s paintings hang on the walls of the Beauforts’ Gilded Age mansion, the setting for the annual Opera Ball, where New York plutocrats dance with women in Tissot-inspired dresses. An oversized replica of Too Early (1873) shows the sniggering that meets a group of early arrivals at a...


‘The Vanishing Half’

Joanna Biggs

‘Ihope the book gives you a sense of joy, something to immerse yourself in that is not the horrific news that we’ve been experiencing constantly and relentlessly since March,’ Brit Bennett said of her new novel. The Vanishing Half came out a week after George Floyd was choked to death on a Minneapolis sidewalk; the novel itself begins weeks after Martin Luther King was...

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What made the Vikings tick?

Tom Shippey

Over​ the last forty years, academics have tried, without much success, to superimpose the idea of the Vikings as peaceful traders on the berserkers-and-horned-helmets tradition. There is little disagreement about the events of the Viking Age or its timeline, stretching from 8 June 793 (the unexpected raid on Lindisfarne) to 25 September 1066, when King Haraldr Harðráði,...


Will there be a Brexit deal?

Anand Menon

Justbefore the EU referendum in 2016, the American political scientist Andrew Moravcsik wrote in the Financial Times that Brexit should be seen as a kabuki drama – ‘stylised but meaningless posturing’. Four years on, it is clear that nothing could be further from the truth. Even if the UK does manage to strike a deal with the EU, relations between the two have been...

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Talking Politics: History of Ideas

After each episode of the new Talking Politics podcast, brought to you in partnership with the London Review of Books, continue your exploration of the history of ideas in our unrivalled archive of essays and reviews, films and podcasts.

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LRB Books: Collections and Selections

Rediscover classic pieces, recurring themes, and the dash the London Review of Books has cut through the history of ideas, for the past 40 years, with LRB Collections and now LRB Selections: two new series of collectible books.

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Good news from Bury Place!

We are delighted to announce that the London Review Bookshop has reopened its doors! For further details of how socially distanced browsing will work, visit the bookshop website. You can phone them on 020 7269 9030 to place a pre-paid order for collection, and they are once again talking orders via email or phone for international mail order. You can also order from a selection of booksellers’ favourites and lockdown picks online, via the London Review Book Box website. The Cake Shop is also back, for takeaway only, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. Stay tuned for news of upcoming digital events, and we hope to see you very soon. Thank you for your support.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

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