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Why do hotels make for such good drama?

Books & artsCheck out any time you likeWhy do hotels make for such good drama?From “The Shining” to “The White Lotus”, the hotel is an adaptable, atmospheric settingFew settings are more dramatically enticing than hotels. They offer the possibility of fresh starts, of chance encounters, of sex, of death. They set up contrasts: between the guests,...

A new book explores the curious origins of “12 Angry Men”

Books & artsSep 25th 2021 editionJustice on screenA new book explores the curious origins of “12 Angry Men”The film went on to become a landmark in American civic entertainmentReginald Rose and the Journey. By Phil Rosenzweig. Fordham University Press; 314 pages; $27.95 and £22.99IN 1954 A young screenwriter received a summons for jury service in...

A bold artist’s work is at once high-tech and primeval

Books & artsSep 25th 2021 editionContemporary artA bold artist’s work is at once high-tech and primevalPhilippe Parreno pushes the boundaries of what art can beON THE AFTERNOON before this summer’s official opening of Luma Arles, an impressive new art centre in the south of France, a triangular pool in the corner of one of the ground-floor galleries...

On the case of “12 Angry Men”

Books & artsSep 25th 2021 editionJustice on screenOn the case of “12 Angry Men”A new book explores the origins of a landmark American filmReginald Rose and the Journey. By Phil Rosenzweig. Fordham University Press; 314 pages; $27.95 and £22.99IN 1954 A young screenwriter received a summons for jury service in New York. For the rest of his life he...

The lost rivers and forgotten history of London

Books & artsSep 25th 2021 editionWhat lies beneathThe lost rivers and forgotten history of LondonA lifelong Londoner, Tom Chivers delves into—and below—the city’s streetsLondon Clay: Journeys in the Deep City. By Tom Chivers. Doubleday; 464 pages; £20IN 1858 LONDON was hit by the “Great Stink” after the banks of the Thames became clogged with raw...

A father and son take on the world in Richard Powers’s new novel

Books & artsSep 25th 2021 editionDystopian fictionA father and son take on the world in Richard Powers’s new novelShortlisted for the Booker, “Bewilderment” engages the heart as well as the headBewilderment. By Richard Powers. W.W. Norton & Company; 288 pages; $27.95. William Heinemann; £18.99AN ECOLOGICAL EPIC about deforestation, “The Overstory”...

Steven Pinker’s new defence of reason is impassioned but flawed

Books & artsReason and its discontentsSteven Pinker’s new defence of reason is impassioned but flawedIn “Rationality” he answers his critics but underplays the importance of scepticismRationality. By Steven Pinker. Viking; 432 pages; $32. Allen Lane; £25STEVEN PINKER is too honest to deny that he risks blowing into his own sails. If he tried to...

KPM Music is one of the most important record labels in history

Books & artsThe beat goes onKPM Music is one of the most important record labels in historyIts artists aren’t famous and you can’t buy the records in shops. But KPM’s work can be heard everywhereEarlier this month a little piece of music history was restored. The news was easy to overlook. Sony Music, a record label, announced that one of its outermost...

A gripping “Rigoletto” keeps the focus on emotion

Books & artsOpera after covidA gripping “Rigoletto” keeps the focus on emotionThe production at the Royal Opera House relies on a series of striking tableauxWhat a coincidence, you tend to think, when, in the first act of “Rigoletto”, the assassin Sparafucile emerges from the shadows to offer his services to the title character, a hunchbacked clown...

Muhammad Ali’s guide to heroism

Books & artsBack StoryMuhammad Ali’s guide to heroismThe greatest of all time was also the ultimate athlete-activistMUCH LIKE boxing, documentaries are often more attritional than elegant. Too many wear viewers down with archive footage and pound them with interchangeable talking heads. But, like boxers, the best documentarians are artists rather...

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