Illustration by Matthew Cook
©Matthew Cook

‘Ambition’ — a story by Helen Simpson

A new short story for the holidays by the award-winning author

White butterflies surround local people collecting scrap from a crashed spacecraft in the Altai territory of Siberia in summer 2000
©Jonas Bendiksen / Magnum

Masters of the Earth

Scientists say we are entering a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene — the age of humans. But are we thriving or inadvertently destroying ourselves?

The statue of King Charles I in London’s Charing Cross
©Brian Jansen / Alamy

‘Henry VIII’; ‘Edward VI’; ‘Charles I’; ‘George V’; ‘George VI’

For kings and queens, success is all about understanding the art of the possible. Review by Matthew Engel

MAS, Emerald Light

‘The Emerald Light in the Air: Stories’, by Donald Antrim

The ordinary is deftly skewed in a bold story collection from a ‘poet of 21st-century paranoia’. Review by Erica Wagner

Mohsin Hamid
©Jillian Edelstein

‘Discontent and its Civilizations’, by Mohsin Hamid

A novelist reflects on life, art and politics in the shadow of terror. Review by Delphine Strauss

Front cover of ‘Here’ by Richard McGuire

‘Here’, by Richard McGuire

A complex graphic novel traces centuries of change through one suburban living room. Review by John Sunyer

Front cover of 'The Night Malcolm X Spoke at the Oxford Union', by Stephen Tuck

‘The Night Malcolm X Spoke at the Oxford Union’, by Stephen Tuck

A vivid reconstruction of the black revolutionary’s visit to Oxford. Review by Christopher Phelps

Mas, The Hillstop

‘The Hilltop’, by Assaf Gavron

Personal and national trauma colour the lives of two brothers in a rogue Israeli settlement. Review by Julius Purcell

George Orwell at his typewriter
©Mondadori / Getty Images

George Orwell’s luminous truths

Claimed by both left and right, the English writer is revealed in all his fierce integrity in a new collection of journalism

‘The Good War’, by Jack Fairweather

How the military campaign in Afghanistan began with clear aims and robust international support — but ended in disappointment. Review by Victor Mallet