‘The tumult of youth’ [book review]

A review of Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth There is a point in Heatstroke at which everything changes. It is strangely hard to pin it down, the exact moment, and it may well be different for every reader, but the sudden certainty that my nagging suspicion was correct came as something of a relief. Despite theContinue reading ‘The tumult of youth’ [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]

‘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]

‘A thousand ordinary days’ [book review]

A review of The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields ‘I have never written with such happiness,’ wrote Carol Shields in a 2001 afterword to her award-winning novel of the previous decade, The Stone Diaries. Though she goes on to enumerate several reasons why she found the creation of this particular book to be such anContinue reading ‘A thousand ordinary days’ [book review]

‘In times of crisis, people are kind’ [book review]

A review of The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai It reads a lot like a fable, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s The Mountains Sing. A fable set in a country both beautiful and devastated, a country divided into North and South. A fable in which, like their country, people can be roughly divided intoContinue reading “‘In times of crisis, people are kind’ [book review]”

‘Tiny tears in silk cloth’ [book review]

A review of The Stray Cats of Homs by Eva Nour, translated from the Swedish by Agnes Broomé Writing in the author’s note that comes at the end of The Stray Cats of Homs, Eva Nour explains her name. The pseudonym she uses is a combination of Swedish and Arabic names meaning ‘life’ and ‘light’,Continue reading “‘Tiny tears in silk cloth’ [book review]”

‘The past is a moving target’ [book review]

A review of Inge’s War by Svenja O’Donnell A couple of weeks ago I mentioned how publishing – in the UK, at least – seems to have a bit of a thing for war stories at the moment. Several fine Second World War memoirs and histories have been published in recent months and years, manyContinue reading “‘The past is a moving target’ [book review]”

‘Bleeding the radiator’ [book review]

A review of What Doesn’t Kill You: Fifteen Stories of Survival edited by Elitsa Dermendzhiyska It was Cathy Rentzenbrink who put it so beautifully. After many years of struggling with immense grief and its traumatic aftermath, she has come to view crying not as something to be ashamed or scared of, but something necessary, aContinue reading “‘Bleeding the radiator’ [book review]”

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