‘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]

‘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]

‘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]

The Monthly Booking: March 2021

Spring has sprung early this year – so much more pleasant to sit reading in the sunshine – and I’m leaving the cold northern climes of last month’s theme firmly behind me. March’s books have been selected at random, but they are all written (and, where applicable, translated) by women. Happily, the longlist for theContinue reading The Monthly Booking: March 2021

‘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]

‘Now is the time for madmen to rise’ [book review]

A review of We that are young by Preti Taneja I do enjoy a challenge when reading, and Galley Beggar Press is usually happy to provide one. This time it came in the form of Preti Taneja’s We that are young, an undertaking that is nothing if not ambitious. Dense, raging and often extremely discomfiting,Continue reading ‘Now is the time for madmen to rise’ [book review]

The Monthly Booking: January 2021

Never have I been so happy to see the year change. As distressing as it was, 2020 was still a brilliant year for reading – as you can see from my personal Best Books of 2020 list – and while I’m hoping that 2021 will be as different to its predecessor as possible, this isContinue reading The Monthly Booking: January 2021

The Best Books of 2020

It isn’t easy to write a ‘best books of the year’ post. First of all, I hate being asked to choose anything. Secondly, posts of this format mushroom at this time of year – and how many, I wonder, do we really need? All the same, I decided it would be a useful exercise (andContinue reading The Best Books of 2020

‘A thousand ordinary days’ [book review]

A review of The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields ‘I have never written with such happiness,’ wrote Carol Shields in a 2001 afterword to her award-winning novel of the previous decade, The Stone Diaries. Though she goes on to enumerate several reasons why she found the creation of this particular book to be such anContinue reading ‘A thousand ordinary days’ [book review]

‘A city behind a city’ [book review]

A review of The Book of Rio, edited by Toni Marques and Katie Slade Rio de Janeiro is a city of many faces. This is something Toni Marques makes abundantly clear in his introduction to The Book of Rio, one of the earlier titles in Comma Press’s wonderful ‘Reading the City’ series. Often fondly imaginedContinue reading ‘A city behind a city’ [book review]

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