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‘Hell was inside me’ [book review]

A review of Other People’s Beds by Anna Punsoda, translated from the Catalan by Mara Faye Lethem With Other People’s Beds, her first work of fiction, Catalan author Anna Punsoda offers us a tale of the body. In the smarting, spiky prose of her first-person narrative voice, she explores what it is to exist physicallyContinue reading ‘Hell was inside me’ [book review]

‘Making up a story felt like a plaster’ [book review]

A review of Auē by Becky Manawatu In the glossary at the end of Becky Manawatu’s searing debut, the Māori word ‘auē’ is defined as an ‘interjection showing distress’, or as a verb: ‘to cry, wail, howl’. As a title, it couldn’t be more perfect: Auē is indeed a howl of a novel, a longContinue reading ‘Making up a story felt like a plaster’ [book review]

‘Debating race and wrong’ [book review]

A review of Identitti by Mithu Sanyal, translated from the German by Alta L. Price ‘Nowadays nobody’s a serious intellectual until they’ve sat in the eye of a shitstorm.’ So says Nivedita, a German-Polish-Indian student and influential blogger who writes about race, identity and post-colonial studies under the name of Identitti in Mithu Sanyal’s novelContinue reading ‘Debating race and wrong’ [book review]

‘We are the shelter we seek out in others’ [book review]

A review of Homesick by Jennifer Croft Homesick opens with a tornado warning. In their family home in Oklahoma, sisters Amy and Zoe shelter in the pantry, nestled among supplies with a torch and selected toys, waiting until the storm has passed and their parents come to fetch them. The girls do this so often,Continue reading ‘We are the shelter we seek out in others’ [book review]

‘Motherhood has always been very porous’ [book review]

Still Born by Guadalupe Nettel, translated by Rosalind Harvey I first came to the work of Mexican writer Guadalupe Nettel through Bezoar, a collection of short stories as memorable as it is slender, filled with sharp, unsettling observations on the human condition. A brief encounter it may have been, but perhaps for that very reasonContinue reading ‘Motherhood has always been very porous’ [book review]

‘The worst of all tsunamis’ [book review]

Here Be Icebergs by Katya Adaui, translated by Rosalind Harvey ‘Family is family,’ says the narrator’s mother in ‘This Is the Man’, the seventh story in Katya Adaui’s Here Be Icebergs and one of the hardest to stomach, if least ambiguous, tales in this fascinating collection. Translated into English by Rosalind Harvey and published byContinue reading ‘The worst of all tsunamis’ [book review]

‘Tarmac and tidiness’ [book review]

52 Factory Lane by Selim Özdoğan, translated by Katy Derbyshire and Ayça Türkoğlu Ever since I reached the final full stop of The Blacksmith’s Daughter, Turkish-German author Selim Özdoğan’s hauntingly beautiful tale of life in an Anatolian village, I have been looking forward to finding out how the story continues. Fortunately, as the Anatolian BluesContinue reading ‘Tarmac and tidiness’ [book review]

‘A woman on the path of men’ [book review]

Witches by Brenda Lozano, translated by Heather Cleary At first glance they couldn’t seem more different, Feliciana and Zoe. Zoe, in her thirties, is a journalist from Mexico City who has carved out a niche for herself reporting on violent crimes against women, wearied by the unrelenting nature of her work yet not inured toContinue reading ‘A woman on the path of men’ [book review]

‘We look for the wrong things in the right places’ [book review]

Thirsty Sea by Erica Mou, translated by Clarissa Botsford ‘I get lost all the time / But I always know which way / the sea lies’. So reads one of the miniature poems scattered throughout the pages of Thirsty Sea, the restless, visceral and compulsively playful debut novel by Erica Mou. The Italian singer-songwriter’s forayContinue reading ‘We look for the wrong things in the right places’ [book review]

‘The light comes in cautiously’ [book review]

A review of Never Did the Fire by Diamela Eltit, translated from the Spanish by Daniel Hahn In Diamela Eltit’s novel Never Did the Fire, the two main characters, an unnamed man and woman, spend most of their time in a room. In a bed, to be even more specific. Sometimes they lie in it,Continue reading ‘The light comes in cautiously’ [book review]