‘The house was the story’ [book review]

A review of The Dutch House by Ann Patchett Every now and then we’re all in need of a good story. And when it comes to getting lost in a truly great book, Ann Patchett is an ever-reliable address. The award-winning author’s latest novel, The Dutch House, is one of those bestsellers that has beenContinue reading ‘The house was the story’ [book review]

‘Ein Stern erster Größe’ [book review]

A review of Der weiße Abgrund (The White Abyss) by Henning Boëtius Heinrich Heine was one of the great luminaries of German literature, ‘ein Stern erster Größe am Himmel der Poesie’ (‘a star of the first magnitude in the heavens of poetry’). Known primarily as a poet, but also for his essays, satires and travelContinue reading ‘Ein Stern erster Größe’ [book review]

‘Looking at the incandescent door’ [book review]

A review of No Presents Please by Jayant Kaikini, translated from the Kannada by Tejaswini Niranjana Mumbai. Say the name and it conjures multitudes: one of the world’s most populated cities, its streets awash with life, a sea of endless opportunity and dashed hopes, extreme wealth and abject poverty. Mumbai, with its grand colonial buildingsContinue reading “‘Looking at the incandescent door’ [book review]”

‘I prefer the edges’ [book review]

A review of The Frightened Ones by Dima Wannous, translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette The clue comes fairly late on in the novel. ‘I don’t dare delve into the depths of things, I prefer the edges. Where I can be poised to escape.’ So says Suleima, the narrator of Dima Wannous’ The FrightenedContinue reading “‘I prefer the edges’ [book review]”

‘A microsecond of pure happiness’ [book review]

A review of Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann ‘Sometimes’, thinks the narrator of Ducks, Newburyport, ‘you feel just a microsecond of pure happiness’. I think we all know that feeling, and it’s one I had very often whilst reading Lucy Ellmann’s doorstopper novel. Happiness – fleeting, but unadulterated – when I read a sentence thatContinue reading “‘A microsecond of pure happiness’ [book review]”

‘She was a woman and he is a man’ [book review]

A review of The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld I’ll say it straight and upfront: I found The Bass Rock a difficult book to read. I expect, if they’re honest about it, most women – and hopefully men – will do too. This has absolutely nothing to do with Evie Wyld’s compelling style of storytellingContinue reading “‘She was a woman and he is a man’ [book review]”

‘The only way to arrive at the truth’ [book review]

A review of Minor Detail by Adania Shibli, translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette It could seem like a relatively minor book, Adania Shibli’s third novel. With its plain blue Fitzcarraldo cover and svelte 112 pages, Minor Detail comes across as unimposing, a novella to be consumed within the space of a couple ofContinue reading “‘The only way to arrive at the truth’ [book review]”

Independent Press Profile: Inspired Quill

In light of the recent lack of bookshops, I’ve started a new series in which I profile my favourite independent publishers. These are 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 is more than deserving of supportContinue reading “Independent Press Profile: Inspired Quill”

‘This story is a talisman’ [book review]

A review of Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara Earlier this year (in January, to be precise) Deepa Anappara’s Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line was being hailed as one of the best debuts of the year. With the year not yet over and the vast majority of its debuts not yetContinue reading “‘This story is a talisman’ [book review]”

‘We are not the space we live in’ [book review]

A review of Catherine the Great and the Small by Olja Knežević, translated from the Croatian by Paula Gordon and Ellen Elias-Bursać I learned briefly about Catherine the Great at school. Eighteenth-century empress, Russia’s longest-serving female ruler: modern, enlightened, feminist – or at least what passed for such things at the time. Change comes toContinue reading “‘We are not the space we live in’ [book review]”

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