Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. Courtesy Penguin Random House
Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. Courtesy Penguin Random House

My favourite reads: Michael Coetzee



I prefer reading non-fiction, so a novel has to really impress me to be given a spot on my bookshelf. Here are the five that remind me that a great story told with incredible skill can be as engrossing as the best history book.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (2009)

There are more obvious - and easier - choices of protagonist for a historical novel set in and around the court of Henry VIII during the English Reformation than Thomas Cromwell. Another author may have opted for one of the other three Thomases who were central players in the drama that did so much to shape the future of England and Europe - Wolsey, More or Cranmer. There’s of course also the king himself, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. But Hilary Mantel’s intimate psychological portrait of a man usually presented as a villainous foil to the virtuous More will leave you with sympathy not just for him but also for his allies and deadly enemies.

Disgrace by J M Coetzee (1999)

Along with Mantel one of only four authors to have won the Man Booker Prize twice, JM Coetzee managed another rare feat by enraging both ends of South Africa’s political spectrum with Disgrace, attracting vitriolic - and incompatible - denunciations. A masterpiece of minimalist prose, this unrelentically bleak exploration of its titular theme has you nodding knowingly when a character says that “one ceases to be surprised that what used to be hard as hard can be grows harder yet”.

Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn (1991)

Timothy Zahn's early 1990s continuation of the Star Wars saga is no longer the official story of what happened after Return of the Jedi, but there are many fans of the series who wish it still was. The first of novel in a trilogy, it tells a more interesting story than the recent films, perfectly capturing and building upon the movie series' beloved characters and tone. It's a quick, fun read, and a reminder of what might have been.

The Innocent by Ian McEwan (1990)

Ian McEwan uses a real series of events in early-Cold War Berlin as the backdrop for The Innocent, but as is to be expected from the author, this is no ordinary espionage novel. Young Leonard Marnham is eager to be pulled into an exciting world of secrets, ciphers and sex, but soon learns things about the world - and himself - that he would rather not know. It’s worth giving this a shot even if spy stories are not usually your thing.

Use of Weapons by Iain M Banks (1990)

This is the third entry in Iain M Banks's The Culture series, but as it tells a standalone story, you don't need to have read the first two (but do so anyway, as they are both excellent). It is famous for its twist - don't Google it - but what really sets it apart from your average sci-fi novel is its unusual narrative structure, which makes it that rare treat that successfully straddles the line between genre fiction and literature.

Michael Coetzee is a subeditor at The National

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Funk Wav Bounces Vol.1
Calvin Harris
Columbia

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Globalization and its Discontents Revisited
Joseph E. Stiglitz
W. W. Norton & Company

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

The specs

Engine: 1.8-litre 4-cyl turbo
Power: 190hp at 5,200rpm
Torque: 320Nm from 1,800-5,000rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 6.7L/100km
Price: From Dh111,195
On sale: Now

UFC FIGHT NIGHT: SAUDI ARABIA RESULTS

Main card
Middleweight:

Robert Whittaker defeated Ikram Aliskerov via knockout (Round 1)
Heavyweight:
Alexander Volkov def Sergei Pavlovich via unanimous decision
Middleweight:
Kelvin Gastelum def Daniel Rodriguez via unanimous decision
Middleweight:
Shara Magomedov def Antonio Trocoli via knockout (Round 3)
Light heavyweight:
Volkan Oezdemir def Johnny Walker via knockout (Round 1)
Preliminary Card
Lightweight:

Nasrat Haqparast def Jared Gordon via split decision
Featherweight:
Felipe Lima def Muhammad Naimov via submission (Round 3)
Welterweight:
Rinat Fakhretdinov defeats Nicolas Dalby via split decision
Bantamweight:
Muin Gafurov def Kang Kyung-ho via unanimous decision
Light heavyweight:
Magomed Gadzhiyasulov def Brendson Ribeiro via majority decision
Bantamweight:
Chang Ho Lee def Xiao Long via split decision

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Indika

Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
Rating: 4/5

Results

Ashraf Ghani 50.64 per cent

Abdullah Abdullah 39.52 per cent

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar 3.85 per cent

Rahmatullah Nabil 1.8 per cent

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

Directed by: Shaka King

Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons

Four stars

Abaya trends

The utilitarian robe held dear by Arab women is undergoing a change that reveals it as an elegant and graceful garment available in a range of colours and fabrics, while retaining its traditional appeal.

Brief scores:

Toss: Nepal, chose to field

UAE 153-6: Shaiman (59), Usman (30); Regmi 2-23

Nepal 132-7: Jora 53 not out; Zahoor 2-17

Result: UAE won by 21 runs

Series: UAE lead 1-0

The specs

Engine: 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6
Power: 456hp at 5,000rpm
Torque: 691Nm at 3,500rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 14.6L/100km
Price: from Dh349,545
On sale: now

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
The 15 players selected

Muzzamil Afridi, Rahman Gul, Rizwan Haider (Dezo Devils); Shahbaz Ahmed, Suneth Sampath (Glory Gladiators); Waqas Gohar, Jamshaid Butt, Shadab Ahamed (Ganga Fighters); Ali Abid, Ayaz Butt, Ghulam Farid, JD Mahesh Kumara (Hiranni Heros); Inam Faried, Mausif Khan, Ashok Kumar (Texas Titans

Yahya Al Ghassani's bio

Date of birth: April 18, 1998

Playing position: Winger

Clubs: 2015-2017 – Al Ahli Dubai; March-June 2018 – Paris FC; August – Al Wahda

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre, V6 twin-turbo

Transmission: seven-speed PDK dual clutch automatic

Power: 375bhp

Torque: 520Nm

Price: Dh332,800

On sale: now

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

Secret Pigeon Service: Operation Colomba, Resistance and the Struggle to Liberate Europe
Gordon Corera, Harper Collins

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

MATCH INFO:

Second Test

Pakistan v Australia, Tuesday-Saturday, 10am​​ daily​​​​​ at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi

Entrance is free

RoboCop: Rogue City

Developer: Teyon
Publisher: Nacon
Console: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC
Rating: 3/5

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

About Okadoc

Date started: Okadoc, 2018

Founder/CEO: Fodhil Benturquia

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Healthcare

Size: (employees/revenue) 40 staff; undisclosed revenues recording “double-digit” monthly growth

Funding stage: Series B fundraising round to conclude in February

Investors: Undisclosed

MATA
Artist: M.I.A
Label: Island
Rating: 3.5/5

The Farewell

Director: Lulu Wang

Stars: Awkwafina, Zhao Shuzhen, Diana Lin, Tzi Ma

Four stars


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