Review: Deep Country – Neil Ansell

Britain has the reputation for being an over-crowded country with a population much the same as France but with only one third of its area. These figures can mask the fact that much of the British population is located in cities and conurbations and as soon as you drive outside these you can find solitude [...]

Review: Life as a Literary Device – Vitali Vitaliev

British readers may remember Vitali Vitaliev from his time as Moscow correspondent on David Frost’s 1990s television programme, Saturday Night Clive, and many broadcasts on BBC Radio 4. Vitali was born in the Ukraine, eventually defecting to the West, living in Britain and Australia, and eventually returning to London where he is a successful journalist [...]

Review: The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy

I find the Alma Books catalogue always worth following, and it was a particular pleasure to discover in it the recently published Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy, with the informative and insightful introduction by Doris Lessing.

Sofia Tolstoy’s diaries provide a dramatically different picture of Leo Tolstoy to that presented by his followers who seemed lost [...]

Review: The Last Cigarette – Simon Gray

Note:  Since publishing this volume of his diaries, Simon Gray has now died.

The Last Cigarette is the third volume of playwright Simon Gray’s diaries which he began with The Smoking Diaries.back in 2004.  Its not easy to categorise these books – I’ve chosen “diaries”, for most of the time they record daily events [...]