‘A petted, butterfly girl’ [book review]

A review of The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett There is so much fantastic contemporary literature out there that it can be difficult to remember also to look backwards. Thank goodness, then, for publishers like Persephone Books, whose elegant grey covers hold stories by brilliant but often forgotten female writers of the twentieth century toContinue reading ‘A petted, butterfly girl’ [book review]

‘God bless sedation’ [book review]

A review of Permafrost by Eva Baltasar, translated from the Catalan by Julia Sanches A translator’s note is something that really ought to be included in every work of translated literature. Though I have come across more recently, it seems still to be an uncommon practice, yet even the shortest one can offer the readerContinue reading ‘God bless sedation’ [book review]

‘A complicated journey in small stages’ [book review]

A review of A Long Way From Douala by Max Lobe, translated from the French by Ros Schwartz Lying on the west coast of Africa, surrounded by Nigeria, Chad, the Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon is a country of 27 million people about which I’m ashamed to say I know almostContinue reading ‘A complicated journey in small stages’ [book review]

‘Those carefree, glittering summers’ [book review]

A review of The Blacksmith’s Daughter by Selim Özdoğan, translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire and Ayça Türkoğlu Between 1961 and 1973, nearly 900,000 Turkish men and women left their homes to work in West Germany. This constant stream of migration was the result of a deal closed by the two governments; Germany badlyContinue reading ‘Those carefree, glittering summers’ [book review]

‘Peacocks aren’t exactly people’ [book review]

A review of The Peacock by Isabel Bogdan, translated from the German by Annie Rutherford A German novel set in Scotland and translated into English is a somewhat unusual proposition, as Annie Rutherford is quick to point out in her translator’s note at the end of Isabel Bogdan’s The Peacock, which is published next weekContinue reading ‘Peacocks aren’t exactly people’ [book review]

‘A strange, feverish time’ [book review]

A review of Love and Youth: Essential Stories by Ivan Turgenev, translated from the Russian by Nicolas Pasternak Slater A short-story collection full of surprises, Love and Youth charmed and confounded me in almost equal measure. In what publisher Pushkin Press deems the ‘essential’ collection, Ivan Turgenev’s well-known novella First Love is gathered together withContinue reading ‘A strange, feverish time’ [book review]

‘Now is the time for madmen to rise’ [book review]

A review of We that are young by Preti Taneja I do enjoy a challenge when reading, and Galley Beggar Press is usually happy to provide one. This time it came in the form of Preti Taneja’s We that are young, an undertaking that is nothing if not ambitious. Dense, raging and often extremely discomfiting,Continue reading ‘Now is the time for madmen to rise’ [book review]

‘The real theatre is here’ [book review]

A review of The Book of Jakarta, edited by Maesy Ang and Teddy W. Kusuma Each time I read an anthology from Comma Press’s ‘Reading the City’ series, I am immensely impressed by the ability of the editors – who are always different – to order the stories so skilfully that I feel I’ve beenContinue reading ‘The real theatre is here’ [book review]

‘Absurdity, gratuitousness, and imminent disaster’ [book review]

A review of Ramifications by Daniel Saldaña París, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney It was always going to be difficult to read fiction after Hurricane Season. Fortunately for me, there was Ramifications, another cracker from Latin American specialists Charco Press. Daniel Saldaña París’s second novel, vividly translated by Christina MacSweeney, offered me aContinue reading ‘Absurdity, gratuitousness, and imminent disaster’ [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]

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