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‘Crossing languages and collecting butterflies’ [book review]

Putin’s Postbox by Marcel Beyer, translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire German writer Marcel Beyer is a man of many talents. For the past three decades he has been publishing poetry, fiction and essays, translating poetry by Gertrude Stein and Michael Hofmann, and helping to shape the German-speaking literary scene in his roles asContinue reading ‘Crossing languages and collecting butterflies’ [book review]

‘Not an elegant, studied gesture but a convulsive act’ [book review]

A review of In the Margins by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein In our world of instant celebrity, Elena Ferrante is something of an anomaly. For three decades, she has been publishing – with wild success – under a pseudonym, her true identity known only to her Italian publisher. Though sheContinue reading ‘Not an elegant, studied gesture but a convulsive act’ [book review]

‘I went chasing eclipses’ [book review]

A review of Suppose a Sentence by Brian Dillon Hard to write sentences – meaningful ones, anyway – about a work devoted to just that: the sentence. Hard to convey the experience of reading Brian Dillon’s magnificent new book, an inspirational volume of essays as skilfully sculpted as the sentences they examine. A quiet, perhapsContinue reading ‘I went chasing eclipses’ [book review]

The Monthly Booking: November 2020

This month is all about short works of literature. I used to struggle a lot with short stories, but over the last couple of years have developed a serious appreciation for them. What I once found difficult to cope with – the regular lack of closure, abrupt endings, missing out on classic character development –Continue reading The Monthly Booking: November 2020

‘Horror and awe are not incompatible’ [book review]

A review of The Unreality of Memory & Other Essays by Elisa Gabbert What is disaster and why are we so obsessed with it? This is the question at the heart of Elisa Gabbert’s The Unreality of Memory & Other Essays, a wide-ranging collection of essays exploring individual and collective tragedy, our reaction to eventsContinue reading ‘Horror and awe are not incompatible’ [book review]

The Monthly Booking: October 2020

The autumn of intense publication continues, added to by the recent appearance of shortlists for the Booker Prize and the Deutscher Buchpreis, but as is so often the case my core reading list for October is composed of books already sitting on my shelves. A couple are relatively recent releases, while the others are stalwartsContinue reading The Monthly Booking: October 2020

‘Bleeding the radiator’ [book review]

A review of What Doesn’t Kill You: Fifteen Stories of Survival edited by Elitsa Dermendzhiyska It was Cathy Rentzenbrink who put it so beautifully. After many years of struggling with immense grief and its traumatic aftermath, she has come to view crying not as something to be ashamed or scared of, but something necessary, aContinue reading “‘Bleeding the radiator’ [book review]”