‘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]

‘Nobody was exactly how you wanted them to be’ [book review]

A review of Love in Five Acts by Daniela Krien, translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch The title of Daniela Krien’s latest novel to appear in English is, in the German original, Die Liebe im Ernstfall. While a direct interpretation (Love in Case of Emergency) has indeed been chosen for the US edition ofContinue reading ‘Nobody was exactly how you wanted them to be’ [book review]

‘An anger to swallow the world’ [book review]

A review of Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy A couple of years ago I read Richard Powers’ The Overstory, and I have never looked at a tree the same way since. A similar sleight of hand is achieved by Charlotte McConaghy in Migrations, a searing and highly accomplished debut novel that takes on the problem ofContinue reading ‘An anger to swallow the world’ [book review]

‘Everyone in their rightful place’ [book review]

A review of Andrea Víctrix by Llorenç Villalonga, translated from the Catalan by P. Louise Johnson The high-rise streets are lit by lurid advertisements and a slogan flashing in neon letters above the constant stream of traffic: ‘PROGRESS CANNOT BE STOPPED.’ This is Turclub – proper name Tourist Club of the Mediterranean – the settingContinue reading ‘Everyone in their rightful place’ [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]

‘Frauen waschen Wäsche, und Männer fliegen Flugzeuge’ [book review]

A review of Freiflug (Flying Free) by Christine Drews In 1974, a young German woman named Rita Maiburg applied for a job as a pilot with Lufthansa. She was fully qualified for the position, having paid for training and a license herself, and regularly flew private jets from Cologne–Bonn airfield. She was able, experienced andContinue reading ‘Frauen waschen Wäsche, und Männer fliegen Flugzeuge’ [book review]

‘Is the government not humans like us?’ [book review]

A review of How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue There is a question put by one of the main characters – a child – in Imbolo Mbue’s How Beautiful We Were:‘how would I have known that rivers were not ordinarily covered with oil and toxic waste?’ It is perhaps the central question of thisContinue reading ‘Is the government not humans like us?’ [book review]

‘Another sort of beauty altogether’ [book review]

A review of A Perfect Cemetery by Federico Falco, translated from the Spanish by Jennifer Croft Strange things happen in small towns. This seems to be the premise of Federico Falco’s A Perfect Cemetery, a collection of substantial short stories that gleam in Jennifer Croft’s English translation. At the tipping point between realism and itsContinue reading ‘Another sort of beauty altogether’ [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]

‘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]

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