LRB Cover
Volume 40 Number 15
2 August 2018

LRB blog 18 August 2018

Anna Aslanyan
At the Fringe

17 August 2018

Leila Sinclair-Bright

16 August 2018

Nick Holdstock
Where is Rahile Dawut?


10 May 2007

Perry Anderson
The Inglorious Career of Kofi Annan

1 November 2007

Sanjay Subrahmanyam
Placing V.S. Naipaul

23 April 1992

Hilary Mantel
Plain girl’s revenge made flesh

In the next issue, which will be dated 30 August, Susan Pedersen on the Suffragettes, Adam Shatz on Netanyahu, Tariq Ali on caste, Marina Warner on women who fly, Inigo Thomas at the beach.

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David Bromwich

American Breakdown

The weights in the scale against Trump are heavy and getting heavier, he can feel the exposure coming; and the relationship of the lawmen to the president is as transparent as it is intricate: they know he knows they know. But defeating this presidency and preserving the rule of law are not two elements of a single undertaking. The tasks are distinct, and success in the first venture will depend on persistence in the second. More


Nick Richardson

Elves and Aliens

The US government have publicly admitted, in effect, that highly trained and experienced pilots have seen aircraft that they are unable to identify, doing things that they and their colleagues are unable to explain. ‘Unexplained’ doesn’t mean alien, as the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson emphasised on CNN after the footage was released: ‘Just because you don’t know what it is you’re looking at doesn’t mean it’s intelligent aliens visiting from another planet.’ Well, yes, but credible alternative explanations are lacking. More

David Runciman


Was he sufficiently spooked? As the person at the eye of the storm, he does his level best not to let it get to him. From the outset he remains determined not to get dragged down by the craziness that surrounds his every move. This attitude plays to his strengths: his sangfroid is formidable and his refusal to be baited is admirable. But it is also frustrating – Rhodes feels it and by the end the reader feels it as well. It comes too close to that side of Obama’s personality that ends up with him shrugging his shoulders and walking away. More

Ferdinand Mount

De Gaulle

Although he can’t be wholly blamed for the ructions that have repeatedly shaken the country, to claim that he bequeathed stable political institutions seems an exaggeration, to put it mildly. The Front National (recently rebranded by Marine Le Pen as the Rassemblement National, an echo of de Gaulle’s Rassemblement du Peuple Français) remains a menacing second force, requiring constant ingenuity to be kept out. My eye falls on a blog headlined ‘Macron is restoring France’s dignity.’ What sort of polity is it that needs to have its dignity restored so frequently? Is not the quest for grandeur insisted on by de Gaulle likely only to perpetuate a sense of always falling short? More

Joanna Biggs

Literary London

It isn’t that the sentences are difficult in Crudo, or the subject matter alien: it is rather that Crudo sits somewhere between a roman à clef and autofiction, the hip blend of fiction and memoir associated with writers like Knausgaard, Ben Lerner or Sheila Heti. If most of Crudo is true, then what does the novel gain by being a novel at all? At the back of the book, all the quotations are identified, providing a key of sorts. But Olivia Laing’s own Twitter feed is another key to the novel, as is the sort of knowledge of literary London that means you might know what the poetry prize being referred to is, or who Mitzi, Mary-Kay, Andy and the first owner of a plate that used to belong to Doris Lessing are. More

Short Cuts
William Davies

On the Sofa
David Thomson


AUDIO After the Fall

Financial Crash

Listen to John Lanchester’s essay on the financial crash. Listen  »

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AUDIO The Idea of Stevie

Stevie Smith

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford discuss Stevie Smith’s poetry. Listen  »

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