Canadian author Graeme Gibson dies aged 85


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Long-term partner of Margaret Atwood had dementia but continued to travel with her on book tour for The Testaments

The Canadian author and conservationist Graeme Gibson has died at the age of 85. Gibson was the long-term partner of Margaret Atwood, and was with the novelist while she toured to promote her new book, The Testaments.

Atwood said in a statement this afternoon that her family was “devastated by the loss of Graeme, our beloved father, grandfather, and spouse, but we are happy that he achieved the kind of swift exit he wanted and avoided the decline into further dementia that he feared”.

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‘We have a once-in-century chance’: Naomi Klein on how we can fight the climate crisis


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In this extract from her latest book On Fire, the No Logo author looks at why capitalism and politics have got in the way of addressing the climate crisis

• Interview with Naomi Klein: ‘We are seeing the beginnings of the era of climate barbarism’

On a Friday in mid-March, they streamed out of schools in little rivulets, burbling with excitement and defiance at an act of truancy. The little streams emptied on to grand avenues and boulevards, where they combined with other flows of chanting children and teens. Soon the rivulets were rushing rivers: 100,000 bodies in Milan, 40,000 in Paris, 150,000 in Montreal. Cardboard signs bobbed above the surf of humanity: THERE IS NO PLANET B! DON’T BURN OUR FUTURE. THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE!

There was no student strike in Mozambique; on 15 March the whole country was bracing for the impact of Cyclone Idai, one ...

Permanent Record by Edward Snowden review – the whistleblower’s memoir


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The call of duty and a patriotic pedigree are given priority in Snowden’s account of his motivations – and he warns of dangers ahead

Towards the end of Edward Snowden’s memoir, he hands the narrative to his partner, Lindsay Mills, in the form of the diary she was keeping at the time he was “outing” himself as a whistleblower intent on revealing the most cherished secrets, and rampant ambitions, of the American and British spy agencies. “Ed, what have you done?” she wrote. “How can you come back from this?”

Permanent Record is Snowden’s attempt to answer these questions by doing something he finds discomforting and antithetical: breaching his own privacy, opening up what he calls the “empty zone that lies beyond the reach of the state”.

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Michael Morpurgo on fighting Brexit: ‘I’ve been spat at. It’s almost civil war’


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The world’s getting nastier, says the writer, and Britain no longer cares. So he’s hitting back – with a Gulliver’s Travels update that targets Trump, Brexit and the refugee crisis

Michael Morpurgo has all the trappings befitting a prolific, bestselling and beloved children’s author. There is the National Theatre production (War Horse, still touring the globe) and its Spielberg movie adaptation; the stint as children’s laureate (a post he helped create); the gold Blue Peter badge and the knighthood. But as a vocal campaigner against Brexit, he is getting used to rather a different kind of reception.

“I’ve been spat at,” Britain’s storyteller-in-chief says nonchalantly over lunch at his local pub in an idyllic Devon village. “I went to Sidmouth folk festival – quite a peaceable part of the world, you would have thought.” The trouble began when he bought one of the “little blue ...

Mask Off by JJ Bola review – masculinity redefined


This post is by Houman Barekat from Books | The Guardian


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Does maleness need to be entirely dismantled? This primer for young people is an antidote to Jordan Peterson

One of the more welcome publishing trends of the past two or three years has been the glut of thoughtful books about modern masculinity. These include memoirs such as Howard Cunnell’s moving account of his daughter’s gender dysmorphia and reassignment, Fathers and Sons; and Thomas Page McBee’s The Amateur, which recounts the author’s preparations for a boxing bout against a cis male after transitioning. Several recent debut novels, including Garth Greenwell’s What Belongs To You, Daniel Magariel’s One of the Boys and Matthew Sperling’s Astroturf, have also explored this terrain. The perniciousness of masculinist ideology is a recurring theme in Edouard Louis’s fiction – The End of Eddy, History of Violence and Who Killed My Father – and is also at the centre of ...

The Anarchy by William Dalrymple review – the East India Company and corporate excess


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Patriotic myths are exploded in a vivid pageturner, which considers the Company as a forerunner of modern multinationals, ‘too big to fail’

About a century ago, a series of giant murals was unveiled in the Palace of Westminster depicting the “Building of Britain”, which bounded in eight set-pieces from King Alfred’s long-ships beating back the Danes in 877 to bewigged parliamentarians presenting Queen Anne with the articles of Union in 1707. The penultimate scene travels to India in 1614, where the Mughal emperor Jahangir receives an ambassador from King James I, on a mission to promote trade with the newly chartered English East India Company.

From the hindsight of the 1920s, this embassy looked like a key step in the building of a British imperium that would end with Britain’s monarchs as India’s emperors. But the arrival of the British in India in the early 1600s looked very ...

Thomas Piketty’s new War and Peace-sized book published on Thursday


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French economist’s Capital and Ideology expands on themes in Capital in the 21st Century, which sold 2m copies

Six years after being catapulted to fame with a blockbuster about the concentration of wealth, the French economist Thomas Piketty has returned with an epic new book on capitalism.

Abiding by the rule that every bestseller demands a follow-up, Capital and Ideology expands on the themes sketched out in Capital in the 21st Century, which sold 2m copies worldwide after its publication in 2013.

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Marvel artist calls for LGBTQ solidarity in Brazil after gay kiss row


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Jim Cheung says ‘LGBTQ community is here to stay’ after Rio de Janiero mayor attempts to seize copies of Avengers: The Children’s Crusade

The artist of an Avengers comic targeted by the mayor of Rio de Janeiro for featuring a gay kiss has called on the people of Brazil to focus on “ways to unite, rather than help sow the seeds of conflict and division”.

Related: Brazil paper publishes gay kiss illustration in censorship row

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Girl by Edna O’Brien review – a masterclass of storytelling


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The Irish author lays bare the trauma of Nigeria’s abducted schoolgirls in this remarkable novel

A girls’ dormitory. Men burst in, claiming to be soldiers come to protect the sleepers from a local insurrection. But they are not. They are militants in disguise, on the hunt for boys to pressgang, supplies to plunder. Finding neither, they decide that “Girls will do”, and they abduct them. So begins Edna O’Brien’s terrifying, lurching novel, a story set in an unnamed but recognisable Nigeria terrorised by the thugs of Boko Haram; a story that keeps faith with the novelist’s determination to cross continents and cultures to describe the pain and suffering of women and girls, and which also profoundly echoes her work of nearly six decades ago, the Country Girls trilogy.

Everything that O’Brien does memorably throughout her novels, she does here. There is the blend of economy and lyricism, vignettes ...

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood – first look review


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Atwood’s return to the dystopia she created in The Handmaid’s Tale 35 years ago feels no less urgent, but this time hope shows signs of breaking in

In the almost 35 years since Margaret Atwood published The Handmaid’s Tale, its vision of a totalitarian theocracy underpinned by the rigid control of women and their reproductive systems has not receded; in many places – including the far-right consciousness – it may be said to have flourished. Could American women, for example, have imagined that laws would be introduced to criminalise them if they suffered miscarriages? Could Nigerians have foreseen that their schoolgirls would be abducted and forced into marriage and motherhood?

What can the novelist make of this? In the case of both Edna O’Brien, whose novel Girl depicts the lives of those girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, and Margaret Atwood, who has returned to Gilead to convey what happened after ...

Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale sequel escapes from tight secrecy


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Strict measures meant to keep all details of The Testaments confidential until publication have fallen through for some US readers

Hundreds of readers in the US have received early copies of Margaret Atwood’s heavily embargoed follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments, after copies were shipped out early by Amazon.

Security around the novel had been as tight as anything mounted for JK Rowling or Dan Brown’s blockbuster releases – the judges for the Booker prize, who shortlisted The Testaments for the award on Wednesday, were warned they would be held liable if their watermarked copies leaked. But since Tuesday, readers have been posting images on Twitter of their freshly delivered copies, a week before the novel’s official release on 10 September.

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Going Home by Raja Shehadeh review – rich, sad reflections from Ramallah


This post is by Alex Preston from Books | The Guardian


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Palestine’s greatest prose writer reflects on hope and disillusion in his home city 50 years after the Israeli invasion

Ramallah, in the heart of the West Bank, is only a few miles north of Jerusalem, its nose pressed up against the dashes of Palestine’s borders on the maps, official markers of the city’s – and the country’s – provisional nature. It is a place of scarcely 30,000 inhabitants, historically a Christian city (although now the majority are Muslim) and also one of cold winters and carefully tended gardens, chosen by the PLO as its de facto headquarters following the Oslo accords of 1993 and 1995. It is, above all, a city of authors, home to Palestine’s greatest poet, the late Mahmoud Darwish, and the man we can now recognise as its greatest prose writer, Raja Shehadeh.

Shehadeh won the Orwell prize for his 2007 book Palestinian Walks and published ...

No Logo at 20: have we lost the battle against the total branding of our lives?


This post is by Dan Hancox from Books | The Guardian


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It was the bestseller that brilliantly critiqued the political power of the ‘superbrands’ and shot Naomi Klein to fame. Two decades on, we ask her, how does it stand up in our world of tech giants and personal brands?

Some political books capture the zeitgeist with such precision that they seem to blur the lines between the page and the real world and become part of the urgent, rapidly unfolding changes they are describing. On 30 November 1999, mere days before the publication of Naomi Klein’s debut, No Logo, the epochal “Battle of Seattle” began. Tens of thousands turned out to protest against the World Trade Organisation, and the global corporate interests it represented, and were met with tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and stun grenades. Seattle’s mayor declared a state of emergency, and a massive “no protest zone”, as the violence continued, while the chief ...

Lost Proust stories of homosexual love finally published


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Written in the late 1890s but held back from publication, the nine tales in Le Mystérieux Correspondant are due out this autumn

Nine lost stories by Marcel Proust, which the revered French author is believed to have kept private because of their “audacity”, are due to be published for the first time this autumn.

Touching on themes of homosexuality, the stories were written by Proust during the 1890s, when he was in his 20s and putting together the collection of poems and short stories that would become Plaisirs et les jours (Pleasures and Days). He decided not to include them.

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Franz Kafka archive reclaimed by Israel national library


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Missing author’s papers return to Tel Aviv collection initiated by Max Brod in 1939

Israel’s national library has unveiled a missing batch of Franz Kafka’s papers, ending more than a decade of legal wrangling between Israel and Germany over the author’s legacy.

As he battled with tuberculosis in an Austrian sanatorium, Kafka, a German-speaking Jew from Prague, asked his close friend Max Brod to destroy all his letters and writings.

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Franz Kafka archive reclaimed by Israel national library


This post is by AFP from Books | The Guardian


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Missing author’s papers return to Tel Aviv collection initiated by Max Brod in 1939

Israel’s national library has unveiled a missing batch of Franz Kafka’s papers, ending more than a decade of legal wrangling between Israel and Germany over the author’s legacy.

As he battled with tuberculosis in an Austrian sanatorium, Kafka, a German-speaking Jew from Prague, asked his close friend Max Brod to destroy all his letters and writings.

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Turkish government destroys more than 300,000 books


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Regime says it is cracking down on anything linked to Fethullah Gülen, the Muslim cleric it blames for 2016’s attempted coup

More than 300,000 books have been removed from Turkish schools and libraries and destroyed since the attempted coup of 2016, according to Turkey’s ministry of education.

Turkey’s education minister Ziya Selçuk announced last week that 301,878 books had been destroyed as the government cracks down on anything linked to Fethullah Gülen, the US-based Muslim cleric who is accused by Turkey of instigating 2016’s failed military coup. Gülen has denied involvement.

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Malevolent Republic: A Short History of the New India by KS Komireddi – review


This post is by Jason Burke from Books | The Guardian


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A blistering polemic exposes the country’s malaise under Narendra Modi

Almost a decade ago, I travelled to a small town in Gujarat, a state in the west of India, to hear Narendra Modi speak to a rally. It started late in the evening and a crowd had already spread across the vacant lot of land that was the venue. Modi, then the chief minister of the state but with national ambitions, turned up on time, in stark contrast to the vast proportion of south Asian politicians, and proceeded to mesmerise his audience.

Almost all those present were men – small-town travel agents, shopkeepers, minor bureaucrats. There was nothing very grand about them. All dreamed of a different India, one that enjoyed the levels of development of the west and the authoritarian order of China, without sacrificing any of what they saw as its true identity. “We are middle-class people,” one ...

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino review – on self-delusion


This post is by Lidija Haas from Books | The Guardian


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A bold and playful collection of essays from a hugely talented writer – its subjects include religion, drugs, feminism and the ‘cult of the difficult woman’

Ever since Montaigne promised that “my defects will here be read to the life, and also my natural form, as far as respect for the public has allowed”, the essay has seemed a uniquely risky and pleasurable proposition. Not everyone enjoys its online spread and glut and, especially now that it’s practised so often and with such popularity by young women, many have loathed and fetishised by turns the self-exploration that was always at its heart.

Yet what is strikingly new in contemporary essays is not so much subject matter or approach as the social and economic conditions in which they are produced. Since the essay is inherently an experiment, results will vary, depending on whether you undertake it up in the book-lined tower ...

Author of Christian relationship guide says he has lost his faith


This post is by Harriet Sherwood Religion correspondent from Books | The Guardian


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Joshua Harris says his marriage is over and apologises to LGBT+ people for promoting bigotry

The American author of a bestselling Christian guide to relationships for young people has announced that his marriage is over and he has lost his faith.

Joshua Harris, whose biblical guide to relationships I Kissed Dating Goodbye sold nearly 1m copies around the world after it was published in 1997, has also apologised to LGBT+ people for contributing to a “culture of exclusion and bigotry”.

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