‘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]”

‘Nothing but a soap bubble’ [book review]

A review of A Ballad of Remittent Fever by Ashoke Mukhopadhyay, translated from the Bengali by Arunava Sinha My first foray into Bengali literature has been an interesting experience, to say the least. Ashoke Mukhopadhyay’s A Ballad of Remittent Fever is an epic multi-generational saga that takes in much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries,Continue reading “‘Nothing but a soap bubble’ [book review]”

‘Beautiful, shattered people everywhere’ [book review]

A review of Black Light by Kimberly King Parsons Every now and then you come across a book that makes your heart beat a little faster. Kimberly King Parsons’ Black Light was the latest such book for me, a short-story collection of such virtuosity that I devoured it in almost a single sitting. For anyContinue reading “‘Beautiful, shattered people everywhere’ [book review]”

‘The twilight at the end of every godforsaken intersection’ [book review]

A review of Lot by Bryan Washington It is a tough book, Lot. Tough in setting, tough in subject matter, tough in language. Tough, very often, on its readers. Whatever else this book is, it is not one to be picked up lightly. And yet beneath all the rawness and rough edges of Bryan Washington’sContinue reading “‘The twilight at the end of every godforsaken intersection’ [book review]”

‘A microsecond of pure happiness’ [book review]

A review of Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann ‘Sometimes’, thinks the narrator of Ducks, Newburyport, ‘you feel just a microsecond of pure happiness’. I think we all know that feeling, and it’s one I had very often whilst reading Lucy Ellmann’s doorstopper novel. Happiness – fleeting, but unadulterated – when I read a sentence thatContinue reading “‘A microsecond of pure happiness’ [book review]”

‘She was a woman and he is a man’ [book review]

A review of The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld I’ll say it straight and upfront: I found The Bass Rock a difficult book to read. I expect, if they’re honest about it, most women – and hopefully men – will do too. This has absolutely nothing to do with Evie Wyld’s compelling style of storytellingContinue reading “‘She was a woman and he is a man’ [book review]”

The Monthly Booking: July 2020

It was my birthday last month, which means that my shelves are happily groaning under the weight of yet more books to read. As such, I once again have a themeless reading month – it’s my aim to get my to-be-read shelf down to a manageable size before I buy anything new, although given theContinue reading “The Monthly Booking: July 2020”

‘The accumulation of time makes strangers of us all’ [book review]

A review of Holiday Heart by Margarita García Robayo, translated from the Spanish by Charlotte Coombe It sounds like a good beach read, doesn’t it? Holiday Heart. Yet anyone expecting something light and fluffy had better turn elsewhere, because despite its cheerful-sounding title, Margarita García Robayo’s second work to appear in English is anything butContinue reading “‘The accumulation of time makes strangers of us all’ [book review]”

‘There are so many things we can’t control’ [book review]

A review of Pachinko by Min Jin Lee The building of worlds is a difficult thing. Especially when that world is a historical one. There is research to be done, tiny details to be got exactly right, events to be recounted and words to be weighted just so in order for the setting to comeContinue reading “‘There are so many things we can’t control’ [book review]”

‘Nothing can be undone. Adelante.’ [book review]

A review of American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins In September 2019, just like every year, I attended the World Press Photo Contest exhibition in Vienna. At the far end of the room, towards the left-hand corner, I came to a stop in front of a colour image. Entitled ‘Crying Girl on the Border’, it showsContinue reading “‘Nothing can be undone. Adelante.’ [book review]”

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