‘The tedium and indignity of being a person’. A review of You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld

Not everyone loves a short story. Over the last year or so I’ve become increasingly fascinated by them, but the experience can be pretty hit-and-miss. Some collections are exquisite, with each story a perfectly contained world of its own that leaves me moved, surprised, sometimes astounded. Others can be a little more challenging – theContinue reading “‘The tedium and indignity of being a person’. A review of You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld”

‘The reverse of the world.’ A review of Fate by Jorge Consiglio, translated from the Spanish by Carolina Orloff and Fionn Petch

I often wonder what effect the world around me has on my reading. Almost as soon as I opened Fate by Jorge Consiglio, I was blown away by how many timely pieces of sagacity the author had to offer. This started right from the Author’s Note, which opens with the words ‘The key question is:Continue reading “‘The reverse of the world.’ A review of Fate by Jorge Consiglio, translated from the Spanish by Carolina Orloff and Fionn Petch”

‘A room empty but for faint dancing light.’ A review of Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima, translated from the Japanese by Geraldine Harcourt

There have been many times in my life when I have been grateful for Japanese fiction. Although I have recently discovered the eccentric joys of Haruki Murakami, what I’m thinking of right now is a particular form of Japanese writing: the slender novellas translated into English that often fly under the radar but can haveContinue reading “‘A room empty but for faint dancing light.’ A review of Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima, translated from the Japanese by Geraldine Harcourt”

‘Socks are really important’. A review of Confession with Blue Horses by Sophie Hardach

There is a striking conversation towards the end of Sophie Hardach’s Costa-shortlisted novel, Confession with Blue Horses. ‘History,’ says one character, ‘is written by adults.’ An obvious statement, perhaps, but all the more poignant when you really think about it. Because history is written by adults – not just in that they are the onesContinue reading “‘Socks are really important’. A review of Confession with Blue Horses by Sophie Hardach”

‘This is about being together.’ A review of Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

It’s official. I have fallen in love (again). Twice in one month is pretty impressive, but with both Haruki Murakami and Bernardine Evaristo on my list of new authors in recent weeks, it’s hardly surprising. At moments like these I wish I could do nothing but read all the time, because Bernardine too comes withContinue reading “‘This is about being together.’ A review of Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo”

‘The Path of Metaphor is rife with perils.’ A review of Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami, translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen

I have come to Haruki Murakami comparatively late in life, a fact that is in itself a cause for great joy. Not only do I think I wouldn’t have appreciated him as completely as I do now had I been younger – I did in fact read Norwegian Wood aged about sixteen and found itContinue reading “‘The Path of Metaphor is rife with perils.’ A review of Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami, translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen”

‘Strange things are afoot.’ A review of The Evenings by Gerard Reve, translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett

They told me it was strange, and they weren’t wrong. In fact, so unsettling and beyond my usual style of reading did I find The Evenings that I almost gave up on it after fifty pages. In part because of my Dutch reading challenge and in part because I hate not finishing a book onceContinue reading “‘Strange things are afoot.’ A review of The Evenings by Gerard Reve, translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett”

‘I neglected to notice my husband’. A review of Sleepless Night by Margriet de Moor, translated from the Dutch by David Doherty

Dutch novelist Margriet de Moor has a wide following in the German-speaking world, but before I actively went looking for Dutch literature I had never come across a mention of her works in English. Why this is I can’t quite fathom, but with translations making up only around three per cent of the literary marketContinue reading “‘I neglected to notice my husband’. A review of Sleepless Night by Margriet de Moor, translated from the Dutch by David Doherty”

‘This shining land is not ours.’ A review of Bird Cottage by Eva Meijer, translated from the Dutch by Antoinette Fawcett

I found it slightly disconcerting at first. Eva Meijer, the multi-talented author of Bird Cottage (Het vogelhuis in the original Dutch) has such a particular way of articulating her main protagonist’s thoughts on the page that I almost felt like I was inside her head. Although definitely not a stream-of-consciousness novel, the slightly jerky wayContinue reading “‘This shining land is not ours.’ A review of Bird Cottage by Eva Meijer, translated from the Dutch by Antoinette Fawcett”

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