Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

‘Making up a story felt like a plaster’ [book review]

A review of Auē by Becky Manawatu In the glossary at the end of Becky Manawatu’s searing debut, the Māori word ‘auē’ is defined as an ‘interjection showing distress’, or as a verb: ‘to cry, wail, howl’. As a title, it couldn’t be more perfect: Auē is indeed a howl of a novel, a longContinue reading ‘Making up a story felt like a plaster’ [book review]

Advertisement

‘A woman on the path of men’ [book review]

Witches by Brenda Lozano, translated by Heather Cleary At first glance they couldn’t seem more different, Feliciana and Zoe. Zoe, in her thirties, is a journalist from Mexico City who has carved out a niche for herself reporting on violent crimes against women, wearied by the unrelenting nature of her work yet not inured toContinue reading ‘A woman on the path of men’ [book review]

‘We look for the wrong things in the right places’ [book review]

Thirsty Sea by Erica Mou, translated by Clarissa Botsford ‘I get lost all the time / But I always know which way / the sea lies’. So reads one of the miniature poems scattered throughout the pages of Thirsty Sea, the restless, visceral and compulsively playful debut novel by Erica Mou. The Italian singer-songwriter’s forayContinue reading ‘We look for the wrong things in the right places’ [book review]

‘The light comes in cautiously’ [book review]

A review of Never Did the Fire by Diamela Eltit, translated from the Spanish by Daniel Hahn In Diamela Eltit’s novel Never Did the Fire, the two main characters, an unnamed man and woman, spend most of their time in a room. In a bed, to be even more specific. Sometimes they lie in it,Continue reading ‘The light comes in cautiously’ [book review]

‘A certain sense of weight and precision’ [book review]

A review of Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au In a busy street outside a station in Tokyo, the ground is ‘not asphalt, but a series of small, square tiles, if you cared enough to notice’. So we are informed by the narrator of Jessica Au’s Cold Enough for Snow, in an opening passageContinue reading ‘A certain sense of weight and precision’ [book review]

‘Not feeling is a feeling too’ [book review]

A review of Tides by Sara Freeman Slipping quietly into the new year comes Tides, the carefully crafted, deeply felt debut novel by Canadian-British author Sara Freeman. With its sparse mode of expression, striking imagery and experimental structure, it is a book that tries to be many things at once – but, when all thatContinue reading ‘Not feeling is a feeling too’ [book review]

‘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]

‘Whether it could be borne’ [book review]

A review of The Bureau of Past Management by Iris Hanika, translated from the German by Abigail Wender The Bureau of Past Management doesn’t exist, but, after reading Iris Hanika’s excellent novel of the same name, I certainly wish it did. This vast institution at the heart of the German capital – nation, even –Continue reading ‘Whether it could be borne’ [book review]

‘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]

‘Everything’s going backward’ [book review]

A review of Bewilderment by Richard Powers ‘Moving’ is the word I have most often seen describing Richard Powers’s new novel, Bewilderment. The reviewers and blurb writers aren’t wrong: any novel about a widowed father trying to help his fragile son negotiate the horrors of the world we humans have created is – unless somethingContinue reading ‘Everything’s going backward’ [book review]