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Writing the nation

The "state of the nation" novel is back in fashion, with recent examples from Hanif Kureishi, Sebastian Faulks and Louis de Bernières. But many of these books focus too closely on "authentic" period detail at the expense of convincing characters…
Philip Hensher  

Between the lines

Blurbs and trailers used to tease, not spoil. But these days they ruin things by telling you exactly what you are going to read or watch. We need a campaign for real blurbs
Adam Mars-Jones  

The wink

In the old people's home, Jean saw him again. This time, she knew what to do
Ruth Rendell  

Birdwing

Butterflies offered Arno the passion missing from his marriage. But where, exactly, would his hobby take him?
Indra Sinha  

Cuckoo

Alice was half my age but twice as intelligent as me. She was an enigma threatening to dissolve my marriage.
Adam Marek  

Infested

She knew it would take something special to win Best Pest. When she saw the dog, she knew she'd found it
Ross Raisin