In brief: A Scribbler in Soho; Stubborn Archivist; All That Remains: A Life in Death – review

A celebration of Auberon Waugh; a millennial caught between two countries; and Dr Sue Black on the meaning of death

A Scribbler in Soho: A Celebration of Auberon Waugh

Edited by Naim Attallah

Quartet, £20, pp300

Nearly two decades after his death, opinion remains divided as to whether Auberon Waugh was one of the great English humorists or a snobbish antediluvian. This anthology-cum-memoir, respectfully put together by his Literary Review colleague Naim Attallah, supports both arguments. Yet even Waugh’s detractors have to accept that at his best, he combined sharp wit with an intellectual force that might persuade even the most sceptical of readers to momentarily accept the “modest proposals” with which he took delight in scandalising the establishment.

Stubborn Archivist

Yara Rodrigues Fowler

Fleet, £14.99, pp368

This compelling debut novel asks a pertinent question in this vexed age of Brexit: where do any of us really belong? Its young protagonist finds herself torn between the dual worlds of London and Brazil. As she tries, like many a millennial metropolitan, to negotiate the often tiresome and confusing world of work and romance, she is beset by the constant question: “Where are you really from?” If the book has a flaw, it’s one of literary over-ambition, with its melding of prose and poetry mainly working, but occasionally jolting. Nonetheless, it should delight anyone looking for a thoughtful, witty successor to Sally Rooney.

All That Remains: A Life in Death

Sue Black

Black Swan, £8.99, pp368

The anatomy professor and forensic anthropologist Dr Sue Black has made a distinguished career out of death. In this wise and revelatory book, she capably and thoroughly demystifies the many ways in which the inevitable will claim us all. As she writes in the introduction, “Should we ever actually conquer death, the human race and the planet would be in real trouble.” This fascinating memoir, dealing with everything from bodies given to medical science to the trauma caused by sudden, violent ends, offers reassurance, and even hope, to the fearful and cynical alike.

To order A Scribbler in Soho edited by Naim Attallah, Stubborn Archivist by Yara Rodrigues Fowler, or All That Remains: A Life in Death by Sue Black, go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846

Contributor

Alexander Larman

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
My Father’s Wake by Kevin Toolis review – a brutal epiphany
As a foreign correspondent, Kevin Toolis routinely encountered death – but it was only when his father died that he truly came to terms with mortality

Sean O'Hagan

29, Aug, 2017 @6:30 AM

Article image
Evelyn Waugh: A Life Revisited by Philip Eade review – an anthology of gossip
Rather than shed fresh light on the writer’s life, this biography ignores the literature in favour of titillating whispers

Robert McCrum

03, Jul, 2016 @10:00 AM

Article image
In Gratitude by Jenny Diski review – on death… and Doris
The late Jenny Diski’s memoir reflects on mortality and her complicated relationship with Doris Lessing with equal candour

Tim Adams

01, May, 2016 @6:30 AM

Article image
Dear Life by Rachel Clarke review – somewhere towards the end
A palliative care specialist offers a tender meditation on how people confront their final days

Nicci Gerrard

21, Jan, 2020 @7:00 AM

Article image
In brief: Lost Cat; Lake of Urine; LEL – review
Mary Gaitskill’s missing pet prompts an essay on love

Hephzibah Anderson

22, Nov, 2020 @1:00 PM

Article image
In brief: Mother: A Memoir; Catherine House; Upheaval – review
Nicholas Royle explores the parent-child bond, Elisabeth Thomas serves up a gothic horror and Jared Diamond unpicks nations in crisis

Hephzibah Anderson

11, May, 2020 @10:59 AM

Article image
In brief: Stay With Me; Eat the Apple; Trajectory – review
Nigerian novelist Ayòbámi Adébáyò’s vivid debut, an inventive Iraq memoir from Matt Young and an introduction to the genius of Richard Russo

Ben East

18, Feb, 2018 @11:00 AM

Article image
In brief: A Good Enough Mother; Character Breakdown; Take Nothing With You – review
A thoughtful novel from Bev Thomas, a keenly observed memoir from Zawe Ashton and a poignant coming-of-age tale from Patrick Gale

Hannah Beckerman

28, Apr, 2019 @12:00 PM

Article image
In brief: The Family Clause; Anti-Social; My Name Is Why – review
A Swedish family at war, tales from the Asbo frontline, and an affecting memoir of brutality and hope

Hannah Beckerman

19, Jul, 2020 @12:00 PM

Article image
In brief: Nothing to See Here; One of Them; Big Sky – review
A surreal story of a dysfunctional family, and Michael Cashman’s journey from the West End to EastEnders

Hannah Beckerman

02, Feb, 2020 @3:00 PM