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Return of the Roman

Knowledge of Latin may be in decline, but novels, films and documentaries about the Romans have never been more popular. We are still dimly, unconsciously, aware that our culture grew out of classical civilisation
Allan Massie  

In the jar

Adrift at sea, submerged in olive oil, all my bodily needs are satisfied, and I can dream
Julian Gough  

Reports from the gulag

Martin Amis's new novel is brilliant and insightful, but offers little news to those versed in the 20th century's first-hand accounts of atrocity
Tom Chatfield  

Vasily Grossman

The Russian writer's novel "Life and Fate"—often compared with "War and Peace"—was first published in English in the mid-1980s. But only now is interest taking off among a wider public
Robert Chandler  

A masterful failure

John Updike has tried and largely failed to convey the interior life of an Arab-American terrorist. Still, it is always a pleasure to watch a master at work
Erik Tarloff  

The dog

Born into the life of a stray, Pestrushka finds herself being trained for spaceflight
Vasily Grossman  

Toothache

Sol can either go to the dentist, or play poker with an old friend
prospect  

Charmless Hav

By updating her fictional city, Jan Morris offers a fable of sterile modernisation, a lament for lost culture and a farewell to the purpose of travel
Kevin Rushby  

Angela Carter’s beasts

She pricked the pieties of Leavisite critics and feminists alike, but her fairy tales have outlived them all. They contain a black thread tying love to violence
Paul Barker