‘Hungry for knowledge in all its forms’. A review of Square Haunting by Francesca Wade

Sometimes the right book comes along at exactly the right time – and recently I’ve been lucky enough for this to happen often. The latest example is Francesca Wade’s Square Haunting, a fascinating, in-depth look at the lives of five women who lived and worked in Bloomsbury between the wars. While a couple of themContinue reading “‘Hungry for knowledge in all its forms’. A review of Square Haunting by Francesca Wade”

‘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”

‘Reality has a habit of ruining convictions’. A review of It Would Be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo, translated from the Spanish by Elizabeth Bryer

It’s funny how things work out. If I’d known what was going to happen this month, I might not have chosen to read Karina Sainz Borgo’s It Would Be Night in Caracas – a blistering portrayal of life in a society that has gone beyond the brink. Reading about hoarding, looting, indiscriminate violence and theContinue reading “‘Reality has a habit of ruining convictions’. A review of It Would Be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo, translated from the Spanish by Elizabeth Bryer”

‘Sand and courage and bombs and sleep’. A review of In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin by Lindsey Hilsum

I would love to know what my eighteen-year-old self would have made of this book. At school and university I spent a while thinking that I might like to be a foreign or war correspondent, partly inspired by the work of Martha Gellhorn which I had read for my degree courses. It was a dreamContinue reading “‘Sand and courage and bombs and sleep’. A review of In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin by Lindsey Hilsum”

‘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”

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