In brief: The Nolan Variations; Paris By Starlight; Nat Tate – review | Books

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Faber, £30, pp381

Whether you believe that the film director Christopher Nolan is the second coming of cinema or an overrated poseur, Tom Shone’s fascinating quasi-biography offers compelling insights into his psyche and methods. Nolan emerges as punctilious, thoughtful, hyper-aware of his own intellect (“Like [my film] more unreservedly,” he upbraids Shone at one point) and a genuine visionary. At a time when mainstream cinema seems dominated by special effects and empty spectacle, this beautifully written book makes a convincing case for Nolan as the last of the great auteurs.

Del Rey, £12.99, pp467

Robert Dinsdale’s follow-up to his excellent The Toymakers treads a similarly rich furrow of magic and terror, making this the perfect Christmas gift for the imaginative and adventurous. His appealing novel follows the characters of Levon and Isabelle on a quest through a dreamlike Paris and is somewhat reminiscent of His Dark Materials in its depiction of the city as simultaneously realistic and otherworldly. Dinsdale beautifully captures the dreamlike dissonance of storytelling and invention, even as his brave characters are threatened by dark forces beyond their comprehension.

Penguin, £8.99, pp80 (paperback)

In his new afterword to this reissue of his famous “fake biography”, William Boyd wryly states: “Resigned to my fate as Dr Frankenstein, I look at Nat Tate, the monster I created, and I have to confess to an odd feeling of baffled satisfaction.” From its beginnings in 1998 as a David Bowie-assisted hoax that conned gullible figures in the art world, Boyd’s jeu d’esprit, a short monograph on the life of the fictitious artist Tate, can now be enjoyed as an entertaining companion piece to his masterly Any Human Heart.

• To order The Nolan Variations, Paris By Starlight or Nat Tate go to guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply

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Source: The Guardian
Keyword: In brief: The Nolan Variations; Paris By Starlight; Nat Tate – review | Books

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