Although he has ruled Russia for twelve years, Vladimir Putin remains a mystery. His family life is hidden, as is much of his life story. His wealth is the subject of speculation, with some insisting he is the richest man in Europe. But evidence is difficult to come by. His enemies regularly turn up dead and he attaches little value to human life. Yet he has presided over the sharpest rise in Russian living standards in the last 100 years.
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'Robert Silvers, editor of the New York Review of Books, once asked Isaiah Berlin who his ideal dinner guest would be. Without hesitation Berlin exclaimed, ‘William James!’'
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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.'