‘You can almost smell it’ [book review]

A review of English Magic by Uschi Gatward There is a definite kind of magic to Uschi Gatward’s debut collection. Published by the inimitable Galley Beggar Press, English Magic comprises twelve stories of varying length that all seem to radiate outwards from London, where Gatward was born, probing the shadowy spaces of countryside and coastline,Continue reading ‘You can almost smell it’ [book review]

‘I could draw it in writing’ [book review]

A review of Planet of Clay by Samar Yazbek, translated from the Arabic by Leri Price ‘A story . . . seems understandable when it’s about a large beast that eats people,’ muses the narrator of Samar Yazbek’s Planet of Clay, a haunting exploration of conflict, trauma and the utter impossibility of using words toContinue reading ‘I could draw it in writing’ [book review]

‘What does memory feed on?’ [book review]

A review of Madgermanes by Birgit Weyhe, translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire Sometimes you pick up a book and just know that this one is going to be special. There are a few things to suggest that Madgermanes might be so: the line drawings on its bright-yellow cover, the unusual size and gentleContinue reading ‘What does memory feed on?’ [book review]

The Monthly Booking: October 2021

Autumn is here, meaning – hopefully – more time for reading as the evenings draw in (something my overflowing bookshelves would definitely welcome). It’s also the perfect time to indulge in some more armchair travel, with books that will be taking me on journeys through England, Uruguay, Trinidad and beyond. Happily, and quite by chance,Continue reading The Monthly Booking: October 2021

‘What makes a person want so much?’ [book review]

A review of The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki Thirteen-year-old Benny Oh is having a tough time. His beloved father, Kenji, a jazz musician, has been killed in an absurd accident to which Benny was witness. His mother, Annabelle, shy and nervous at the best of times, has retreated into herself, neglectingContinue reading ‘What makes a person want so much?’ [book review]

‘A poet, in a time of ashes’ [book review]

A review of Occupation by Julián Fuks, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn Julián Fuks is a man who chooses his words with great care. Fortunately for his English readers, Daniel Hahn is very much the same (anyone wishing for evidence of this might dip into his excellent Translation Diary from earlier this year,Continue reading ‘A poet, in a time of ashes’ [book review]

‘Unassailable in their womanhood’ [book review]

A review of No Touching by Ketty Rouf, translated from the French by Tina Kover ‘Challenging’ is the word that first springs to mind when I think of how to describe No Touching, the award-winning debut novel by Italian-French author Ketty Rouf, which has just been translated into English by Tina Kover. It is aContinue reading ‘Unassailable in their womanhood’ [book review]

‘An explosive, swollen vitality’ [book review]

A review of Waiting for the Waters to Rise by Maryse Condé, translated from the French by Richard Philcox The title of Waiting for the Waters to Rise, the latest novel by Maryse Condé to be translated into English, comes from a conversation between Babakar, the main protagonist, and his good friend Hugo Moreno. OnContinue reading ‘An explosive, swollen vitality’ [book review]

‘If you water dashed hopes’ [book review]

A review of Forty Lost Years by Rosa Maria Arquimbau, translated from the Catalan by Peter Bush Read just a few pages of Forty Lost Years and you’ll find it hard not to fall in love with Laura Vidal. Fourteen years old and an apprentice dressmaker, the narrator of Rosa Maria Arquimbau’s overlooked masterpiece hasContinue reading ‘If you water dashed hopes’ [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]

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