‘Everything’s going backward’ [book review]

A review of Bewilderment by Richard Powers ‘Moving’ is the word I have most often seen describing Richard Powers’s new novel, Bewilderment. The reviewers and blurb writers aren’t wrong: any novel about a widowed father trying to help his fragile son negotiate the horrors of the world we humans have created is – unless somethingContinue reading ‘Everything’s going backward’ [book review]

‘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]

‘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]

The Monthly Booking: June 2021

Summer is almost upon us, and my birthday is this month – two excellent reasons to finally pick up a rather large book I’ve been looking at but not reading for roughly a year. In all its almost-1000-page glory, The Eighth Life has become something of a legend: longlisted for last year’s International Booker PrizeContinue reading The Monthly Booking: June 2021

‘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]

‘Part of the dictionary we think we should carry’ [book review]

A review of The Yield by Tara June Winch Anyone who has ever doubted the power of language to bring people together and tear them apart would do well to read Tara June Winch’s The Yield with all possible haste. This remarkable novel is a deep and moving exploration of the role words play inContinue reading ‘Part of the dictionary we think we should carry’ [book review]

The Monthly Booking: May 2021

Reading lists have to be practical, as well as sometimes thematic or current, so this month for me is all about trying to clear up my digital bookshelf. Many of these are review copies I am very grateful to have the chance to read, including one of the titles shortlisted for this year’s International BookerContinue reading The Monthly Booking: May 2021

‘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]

‘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]

‘Washed by wind’ [book review]

A review of Strange Flowers by Donal Ryan Sometimes life calls for a beautiful book. The kind you can sink into with a sense of relief, or gratitude. The kind that’s filled with vivid strokes of language, painting a place and its people into existence. The kind that fills you with a certain not-unpleasant ache,Continue reading ‘Washed by wind’ [book review]

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