Arts & Letters

Listening to Roberta Flack

‘First Take’, released 50 years ago, still echoes through the present

‘The Lying Life of Adults’ by Elena Ferrante

The Neapolitan author returns to characters driven by compulsions and tensions of class

‘The Time of Our Lives’ by Robert Dessaix

The memoirist’s latest, surprisingly unsettling instalment

In our nature: ‘Vesper Flights’

Helen Macdonald explores how the study of animals reveals unknown aspects of ourselves

Body politic: ‘Boys State’

American democracy is documented in all its gangly, acne-mottled glory

‘Little Eyes’ by Samanta Schweblin (trans. Megan McDowell)

Intimacy and privacy blur as people adopt cybernetic pets inhabited remotely by others, in this disturbing speculative fiction

‘What Are You Going Through’ by Sigrid Nunez

The late-life author of ‘The Friend’ delivers a chastening and discursive novel of mourning

Audio tapestry

A tangle of red tape is robbing us of music podcasts in Australia

‘Cinematic’ television: ‘ZeroZeroZero’

Forget comparisons to cinema, TV is developing its own compelling aesthetic

Attack on language: ‘Surviving Autocracy’ and ‘Twilight of Democracy’

Masha Gessen and Anne Applebaum sound alarms on how ‘post-truth’ public debate leaves us mute in the face of autocracy

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