‘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

‘From smooth to rough, then rough to smooth’ [book review]

A review of She-Clown and Other Stories by Hannah Vincent They may not have the weight of a novel, but when it comes to writing fiction, short stories are amongst the hardest challenges out there. The trick – or one of them, for there are many – is in knowing where to start and, moreContinue reading ‘From smooth to rough, then rough to smooth’ [book review]

‘A few, rare moments of inspiration’ [book review]

A review of Shooting Stars: Ten Historical Miniatures by Stefan Zweig, translated from the German by Anthea Bell Earlier this year I enthusiastically reviewed Stefan Zweig’s memoir, The World of Yesterday, so I had absolutely no hesitation in picking up another of his non-fiction titles. Shooting Stars: Ten Historical Miniatures is a now slightly datedContinue reading ‘A few, rare moments of inspiration’ [book review]

‘The outsiders of the greenhouse’ [book review]

A review of Bezoar and Other Unsettling Stories by Guadalupe Nettel, translated from the Spanish by Suzanne Jill Levine ‘The skin of an eyelid is unexpectedly delicate,’ explains the narrator of‘Ptosis’, the opening story in Guadalupe Nettel’s fascinating collection, Bezoar and Other Unsettling Stories. The Mexican author’s third title to appear in English, here inContinue reading ‘The outsiders of the greenhouse’ [book review]

‘A chronology of scars’ [book review]

A review of Theatre of War by Andrea Jeftanovic, translated from the Spanish by Frances Riddle It’s been a downright brilliant year for Charco Press titles, a feeling that can only be compounded by the Edinburgh-based press’s final publication of 2020. Andrea Jeftanovic’s Theatre of War is a firecracker of a novel, structurally ambitious andContinue reading ‘A chronology of scars’ [book review]

Ten of the Best Independent Publisher Subscriptions

The festive season is almost upon us, and while Christmas will no doubt be very different for most of us this year, perhaps we can use gift giving for a final boost of positivity. The last few months have proved again and again how much joy, solace and human connection literature can provide in timesContinue reading Ten of the Best Independent Publisher Subscriptions

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

‘My eyes were open in the dark’ [book review]

A review of A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa Isn’t this, in the end, what literature is for? This sense of connection, of shared understanding – a feeling that runs deeper than common background or mutual experience and rests, instead, in what it is to be human. This creation of something soContinue reading ‘My eyes were open in the dark’ [book review]

‘In Paris and free’ [book review]

A review of A Country for Dying by Abdellah Taïa, translated from the French by Emma Ramadan In his new novel, A Country for Dying, Abdellah Taïa explores the lives of migrants in Paris, offering an unusual and uncomfortably real perspective on what it is to exist between places. Cut off from their own countriesContinue reading ‘In Paris and free’ [book review]

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