‘If you water dashed hopes’ [book review]

A review of Forty Lost Years by Rosa Maria Arquimbau, translated from the Catalan by Peter Bush Read just a few pages of Forty Lost Years and you’ll find it hard not to fall in love with Laura Vidal. Fourteen years old and an apprentice dressmaker, the narrator of Rosa Maria Arquimbau’s overlooked masterpiece hasContinue reading ‘If you water dashed hopes’ [book review]

‘Warum hatte er die Zeichen nicht gesehen?’ [book review – German]

A review of Ciao by Johanna Adorján Hans Benedek is in trouble. A well-respected art critic and journalist, he has reached middle age only to find that his teenage daughter – Emma, a committed vegan – disdains him, that his wife – Henriette, once a promising young poet, now a part-time yoga instructor – isContinue reading ‘Warum hatte er die Zeichen nicht gesehen?’ [book review – German]

‘This cremation ground at the end of the world’ [book review]

A review of A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam It comes as no surprise to learn that Anuk Arudpragasam is a philosopher. The Sri Lankan-born author holds a doctorate in the subject from Columbia University, which is reflected in the marked philosophical bent to his writing. The opening pages of A Passage North, his secondContinue reading ‘This cremation ground at the end of the world’ [book review]

‘There is no moment too small in the world’ [book review]

A review of Finding the Mother Tree: Uncovering the Wisdom and Intelligence of the Forest by Suzanne Simard I have previously mentioned The Overstory as a novel that made a big impression on me. While its literary merits can no doubt be debated, it was its content – the message, if you like – thatContinue reading ‘There is no moment too small in the world’ [book review]

‘We can be so many things’ [book review]

A review of Violeta Among the Stars by Dulce Maria Cardoso, translated from the Portuguese by Ángel Gurría-Quintana Long before there was Ducks, Newburyport, there was Violeta Among the Stars. Originally published in 2005 but only now translated into English by Ángel Gurría-Quintana, Dulce Maria Cardoso’s experimental novel is a masterclass in getting under theContinue reading ‘We can be so many things’ [book review]

‘Two women doing their best in their world’ [book review]

A review of The Son of the House by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia It may be titled The Son of the House, but the debut novel by Nigerian author Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia is a work of literature all about women. Women and, more broadly, Nigeria – a country that undergoes great social and political changes over the courseContinue reading ‘Two women doing their best in their world’ [book review]

‘Zero transport. Zero meat. Zero hope.’ [book review]

A review of Havana Year Zero by Karla Suárez, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney Only once in Havana Year Zero is the city ever explicitly given human characteristics. On a balcony in the rain, towards the end of the novel, as her life seems to be falling apart around her, our narrator, Julia,Continue reading ‘Zero transport. Zero meat. Zero hope.’ [book review]

‘All we have, and all we are’ [book review]

A review of Tapestries of Life: Uncovering the Lifesaving Secrets of the Natural World by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson, translated from the Norwegian by Lucy Moffatt ‘Nature is all we have, and all we are,’ writes Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson in Tapestries of Life, her second book to be translated into English by Lucy Moffatt following the extremely successfulContinue reading ‘All we have, and all we are’ [book review]

‘Deep down everything’s connected’ [book review]

A review of Sevastopol by Emilio Fraia, translated from the Portuguese by Zoë Perry The characters in Emilia Fraia’s Sevastopol are all a little bit lost. A young female mountaineer, obsessed with climbing Mount Everest, conflates her damaging relationship with the mountain and her equally unsuccessful relationships with men, particularly the older and unreliable Gino.Continue reading ‘Deep down everything’s connected’ [book review]

‘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]

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