‘Both very real and highly abstract’ [book review]

A review of The Border by Erika Fatland, translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson There is a definite sense of journey’s end on reaching the final pages of Erika Fatland’s The Border – for the reader as well as for the author herself. Not only is the book large in size (almost six hundredContinue reading ‘Both very real and highly abstract’ [book review]

‘We will need to learn to let go’ [book review]

A review of We Are The Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer At the end of my month of reading about the environment came this, the book I didn’t know I needed. In a couple of hundred pages and some very well-chosen words, Jonathan Safran Foer has managed to do what no other writer or journalistContinue reading ‘We will need to learn to let go’ [book review]

‘A Pepsi and a bag of animal crackers’ [book review]

A review of Wars of the Interior by Joseph Zárate, translated from the Spanish by Annie McDermott ‘A map is not an innocent drawing: it contains a political message,’ writes Joseph Zárate in Wars of the Interior, a highly charged and brave investigation of the under-reported conflicts playing out in the heartlands of Peru. TheContinue reading ‘A Pepsi and a bag of animal crackers’ [book review]

‘A forest full of troubles’ [book review]

A review of The Dragons, The Giant, The Women by Wayétu Moore It may only be March, but when it comes to the memoir genre I’ll wager that this year you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more powerful example than Wayétu Moore’s. Combining elements of fantasy with all-too-real experiences of war and racism, The Dragons,Continue reading ‘A forest full of troubles’ [book review]

‘There is too much past’ [book review]

A review of In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova, translated from the Russian by Sasha Dugdale ‘There is nothing more distancing than the documents of a dead person,’ writes Maria Stepanova late in her astonishing book In Memory of Memory. It is a sentence which by this time she has proved to be false,Continue reading ‘There is too much past’ [book review]

‘Like a faucet that won’t stop dripping’ [book review]

A review of Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker I heard a lot about Robert Kolker last year – his latest publication, Hidden Valley Road, was championed by The New York Times as one of the best non-fiction titles of 2020 and also made it to Barack Obama’s end-of-year list – yet few reviews, interviewsContinue reading ‘Like a faucet that won’t stop dripping’ [book review]

‘The regret of unspoken words’ [book review]

A review of The Boy from Boskovice: A Father’s Secret Life by Vicky Unwin I’m always interested in reading World War II memoirs and histories, so I jumped at the chance to review Vicky Unwin’s second book, The Boy from Boskovice, which delves into the life of her refugee father. Touted as the piecing togetherContinue reading ‘The regret of unspoken words’ [book review]

‘The impenetrable nature of sleep’ [book review]

A review of Sleepless by Anders Bortne, translated from the Norwegian by Lucy Moffatt ‘Insomnia is a public health problem suffered by every tenth adult in the Western world.’ A striking statement, but one that is entirely characteristic of Norwegian author Anders Bortne’s recent memoir Sleepless, a record of his own struggle with chronic insomniaContinue reading ‘The impenetrable nature of sleep’ [book review]

‘A confluence of exile’ [book review]

A review of To the Lake: A Balkan Journey of War and Peace by Kapka Kassabova Travel writing hasn’t usually provided me with much cause for melancholy. Nostalgia, perhaps, or a sense of yearning. It may be that I have recently been reading through a lens shaped by the current state of the world –Continue reading ‘A confluence of exile’ [book review]

‘I went chasing eclipses’ [book review]

A review of Suppose a Sentence by Brian Dillon Hard to write sentences – meaningful ones, anyway – about a work devoted to just that: the sentence. Hard to convey the experience of reading Brian Dillon’s magnificent new book, an inspirational volume of essays as skilfully sculpted as the sentences they examine. A quiet, perhapsContinue reading ‘I went chasing eclipses’ [book review]

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