Issue: November 2013

Saintly Networkers

Kate Cooper’s pacy tale of heroines, virgins and martyrs recounts the largely unknown role of women in shaping the early Church

A London Fairytale

Characterisation and a sense of place have been sacrificed for a magical realist atmosphere in Peter Ackroyd’s latest novel, Three Brothers

Whodunnit? Who Cares?

Perhaps the Booker judges awarded Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries the prize to ensure that their getting through all 836 exhausting pages of her frustrating novel wasn’t in vain

Not Pretty Enough For The Pictures

Benedict Cumberbatch is hard to watch as Julian Assange and a new Juliet brings to mind Shrek’s bride

Eternal Truths Of A Megastar

Leonard Bernstein's letters reveal him as obsessed with music, career, politics, and (always) sex

A Larger Than Life Predator

The establishment hid Cyril Smith’s crimes. Imagine what they will do when the press is state-regulated

Making the Best of Brecht

Henry Goodman is outstanding as Arturo Ui, the German playwright's terrifying caricature of Hitler

Undaunted And Unsentimental

A distrust of politicians and a compassion for working people drove Honoré Daumier's work

Overrated: Richard Dawkins

Dissecting the reputation of a Pooterish atheist with a selfish, perhaps genetic, need to be noticed

Underrated: C.S. Lewis

Celebrating a convert to Christianity whose thinking was bold and writing imaginative

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"