With talk of democracy in crisis plentiful, especially in Europe, a smart assessment of how well democracies have fared during past crises is badly needed. This is what David Runciman offers – with decidedly mixed results. Runciman is a good writer and a brave pioneer. Little has been published on the subject and (as I realised when attempting something similar in The Life and Death of Democracy) it’s no easy task to compare large numbers of cases from different time periods and come up with a convincing picture of why democracies succeed or fail.
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
'She digs her images into her story, so that they blow up like psychic land mines when the reader’s perception brushes against them.'
Hilary Mantel reviewing Margaret Atwood: a #BookerPrize double-header from the archive.
In Ali Smith's "Summer", 'the coronavirus pandemic has arrived. Lockdown happens too. There are allusions to Black Lives Matter, to online abuse and radicalisation, to things so recently news that it feels shocking to find them in a novel.'
'Stevenson told W E Henley, the model for Long John Silver, it was "going to shoot up and become a star". Alas, it fizzled out like a cheap firework, as many of his projects had a tendency to do.'
Alan Taylor looks at the greatest novels never written.