23 NOVEMBER 1991, Page 33

Gabriele Annan

I loved Milan Kundera's Immortality, (Faber, £14.99) a cool, funny, sophisticated novel based on a tragic view of life. Louis Begley's Wartime Lies (Alfred Knopf) is a cliff-hanger autobiographical novel about the author's childhood in wartime Poland. A circumcised Jew, he was coached from the age of nine to pass as a Christian, and did. Cool and tragic, too, John Richard- son's Picasso (Cape, £30) is a must, and pure pleasure as well; a satisfying combina- tion if ever there was one.