‘Each thing carries its opposite within’ [book review]

A review of At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop, translated from the French by Anna Moschovakis It is unfair to write this without having read the entire shortlist, but At Night All Blood is Black has serious International Booker Prize-winning potential. David Diop’s novel, in translation by Anna Moschovakis, is a short,Continue reading ‘Each thing carries its opposite within’ [book review]

‘A Pepsi and a bag of animal crackers’ [book review]

A review of Wars of the Interior by Joseph Zárate, translated from the Spanish by Annie McDermott ‘A map is not an innocent drawing: it contains a political message,’ writes Joseph Zárate in Wars of the Interior, a highly charged and brave investigation of the under-reported conflicts playing out in the heartlands of Peru. TheContinue reading ‘A Pepsi and a bag of animal crackers’ [book review]

Independent Press Profile: Istros Books

A series in which I profile my favourite independent publishers: some of the most exciting addresses when it comes to finding original ideas, literature in translation and voices that are underrepresented in the mainstream. Each one has so much to offer and is more than deserving of support – buy directly where you can, orContinue reading Independent Press Profile: Istros Books

The Monthly Booking: February 2021

An accidental Russian theme has crept into my reading for this month, which I’ve put together from titles waiting patiently on my shelves and a couple of new review copies. Perhaps my leaning towards northern climes reflects the bitterly cold weather we’ve been experiencing here recently; perhaps it’s just my ongoing yearning for travel. EitherContinue reading The Monthly Booking: February 2021

‘The impenetrable nature of sleep’ [book review]

A review of Sleepless by Anders Bortne, translated from the Norwegian by Lucy Moffatt ‘Insomnia is a public health problem suffered by every tenth adult in the Western world.’ A striking statement, but one that is entirely characteristic of Norwegian author Anders Bortne’s recent memoir Sleepless, a record of his own struggle with chronic insomniaContinue reading ‘The impenetrable nature of sleep’ [book review]

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

‘Lavish and warped’ [book review]

A review of Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor, translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes It happens. Every now and again, a book comes along and takes my words away. That it should this year have been Fernanda Melchor’s Hurricane Season, in the blistering English translation by Sophie Hughes, didn’t come as a great surprise.Continue reading ‘Lavish and warped’ [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]

‘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]

The Monthly Booking: December 2020

Reading has meant a lot this year. I’ve heard many people say that recent events have totally destroyed their concentration, but whatever else has been happening – and however hard I may have found it to concentrate on other things – reading has been a constant and calming presence over the last twelve months. I’mContinue reading The Monthly Booking: December 2020

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