Essays, reviews

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  • In dreams, review of Circus Bulgaria by Deyan Enev translated by Kapka Kassabova, Times Literary Supplement, 24 December 2010
  • From Delft to Java, review of The Tea Lords by Hella S Haasse translated by Ina Rilke, Guardian, 4 December 2010
  • Magic in the mirror, review of The Accident by Ismail Kadare translated by John Hodgson, Independent, 3 September 2010
  • Imperfect spies, review of Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carré, Prospect, September 2010
  • The master of small things, a profile of David Mitchell and review of his 5th novel The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Prospect, May 2010
  • Pole positions, review of Fado by Andrzej Stasiuk, Times Literary Supplement, 2 April 2010
  • Mysteries afloat, review of The Last Englishman: the Double Life of Arthur Ransome by Roland Chambers, Times Literary Supplement, 21 August 2009
  • Damned by his brain, review of The Sixth Man: the Extraordinary Life of Paddy Costello by James McNeish, Times Literary Supplement, 24 July 2009
  • Europe-bound, review of Leaving Tangier by Tahar Ben Jelloun, Guardian, 4 April 2009
  • Appuyons sur le frein (“Step on the brake”), an essay on how French will survive as a literary language, appears in L’Atelier du Roman no.53, summer 2008
  • Dangerous ideals, review of Andrew O’Hagan’s novel Be Near Me, Prospect, October 2006
  • An essay on Rabelais’s opposition to the Church, The first offender, appeared in the PEN / Penguin anthology Free Expression Is No Offence, December 2005
  • A rational Quixote, an essay on Cervantes’ legacy to the Enlightenment, Prospect, May 2005
  • Europe’s lost stories, a polemic about Europe’s literary decline and Britain’s neglect, Prospect, July 2004 (also in Thinking Allowed, The Best of Prospect 1995-2005, Atlantic Books)
  • Continental shelf, an essay on the fiction of the new European Union, Guardian, May 2004
  • In the knight’s footsteps, a seven-part essay on the art of the European novel, Guardian, July-August 2002

Part 1: In the knight’s footsteps
Part 2: Rebels against reality
Part 3: Waves of modernity
Part 4: Ghosts of memory
Part 5: Pushkin’s children
Part 6: Words for weapons
Part 7: The burden of history

  • Nous sommes fragiles (“We are fragile”), an essay about 9/11 and the stories of Alexandros Papadiamantis, L’Atelier du Roman no.30, summer 2002
  • Ce qui nous reste de la sagesse (“What’s left of our wisdom”), an essay about the Journal of A O Barnabooth by Valery Larbaud, L’Atelier du Roman no.28, winter 2001
  • Diary about Nabokov’s inspiration for Lolita in the work of Valery Larbaud, London Review of Books, July 1997

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