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Patience by Toby Litt review: The world from a curious angle A fresh, unusual and completely charming perspective on friendship.

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Rachel Cusk: ruthless and formidable observations Coventry review: Rachel Cusk's intelligence in writing about everything from literature to parenthood is staggering. Baby review: Sharing a boat with a memorable psychopath Annaleese Jochems unleashes an original debut set in cramped quarters in New Zealand.

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The Lost Art of Scripture: The sacred texts need to be rescued Book review: Karen Armstrong argues that scriptures are not meant to be read as history. Seduction and Betrayal and Sleepless Nights review Elizabeth Hardwick can stand toe to toe with the great 20th century modernists.

Ask Again, Yes: The story of a family broken by mental illness Book review: Mary Beth Keane has written an engaging, compassionate novel. Leap of Faith review: How the US talked itself into the second Gulf war Michael J Mazarr offers a study in groupthink, dysfunction and personal pathology. Essays on John McGahern: a living presence in the Irish conscience However valuable these essays, we must remain in awe of the great, unique work on which they feast.

My Face for the World to See

The Nickel Boys review: Racial injustice and the politics of forgetting Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead is unflinching in depiction of juvenile detention centre. The Art of The Artistic Director: invaluable insights into the programming minefield The absence of Irish names reflects the cull of independent companies here since A reminder that media standards matter and that journalism should be protected Review: Resilient Reporting: Media Coverage of Irish Elections Since Surrender by Joanna Pocock: toes the thin line between beauty and horror wonderfully A perspective not of objectivity or voyeurism, but of participation in the web of life and in the land.

A Proper Person to be Detained review: A difficult family story Catherine Czerkawska follows the fall-out of the murder of her great-great uncle in Sweet Sorrow review: A quiet, tender testament to first love David Nicholls, the author of One Day and Us, returns with a bittersweet but comic coming-of-age novel.

Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation: A state haunted by self-doubt Review: Roderick Beaton writes with measured compassion about the European country.

My Seditious Heart: Arundhati Roy at her most unflinching Book review: An uncompromising collection of essays whose urgency is impossible to ignore. By Alexandra Schwartz.

The show is a charming diversion and an estimable pseudo-event—a see-now-buy-now spectacular for the society of spectacle. By Troy Patterson. By Hannah Goldfield. By Shauna Lyon. By Yemisi Aribisala. The front woman of Alabama Shakes explains why she had to make a solo record. The puzzle creator and film critic Kameron Austin Collins likes to put a little spin on his clues.

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Culture Desk The Controversial Use of Rap Lyrics as Evidence The use of hip-hop in the court of law requires an intellectually dishonest reading of what art is and of the function it serves for both creator and audience. The Critics Books. A Critic at Large. The Art World. This is an insider's manual for all those who would aspire to fame, the ghostly glamour of the movies, and believe they are entitled to it. An exciting, engrossing work, written with beautiful economy and the sure skill of an artist who knows what he is doing Hayes has created characters that are the essence of human hopes and frailty.

All of Alfred Hayes's writing has been marked by a fine grace and finish; and My Face for the World to See is like his earlier books in its quiet control of words and effects.

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Grace, finish, control—or plain style—are all rare qualities in the generally verbose weather of contemporary prose; and when they appear they must be greeted with honest gratitude and praise. Hayes writes luminously about people who can't help themselves, who can't resist the temptations that are set to destroy them Hayes has done for bruised men what Jean Rhys does for bruised women, and they both write heartbreakingly beautiful sentences.

Elegant in its hopelessness, or hopeless in its elegance: a real find.

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