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

‘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]”

‘The difference between people and rivers’ [book review]

A review of The Book of Shanghai, ed. Jin Li and Dai Congrong Literature is unquestionably one of the best ways to get under the skin of a place, and if you’re keen to explore one city in particular it is equally incontestable that the superb ‘The Book of . . .’ series by CommaContinue reading “‘The difference between people and rivers’ [book review]”

‘A city devoid of tenderness’ [book review]

A review of Arid Dreams by Duanwad Pimwana, translated from the Thai by Mui Poopoksakul In ‘The Way of the Moon’, the penultimate story in Duanwad Pimwana’s collection Arid Dreams, a boy and his father sleep out on a beach. The boy is fascinated by the sparks rising from their campfire, recognising that an essentialContinue reading “‘A city devoid of tenderness’ [book review]”

‘Beautiful, shattered people everywhere’ [book review]

A review of Black Light by Kimberly King Parsons Every now and then you come across a book that makes your heart beat a little faster. Kimberly King Parsons’ Black Light was the latest such book for me, a short-story collection of such virtuosity that I devoured it in almost a single sitting. For anyContinue reading “‘Beautiful, shattered people everywhere’ [book review]”

‘The twilight at the end of every godforsaken intersection’ [book review]

A review of Lot by Bryan Washington It is a tough book, Lot. Tough in setting, tough in subject matter, tough in language. Tough, very often, on its readers. Whatever else this book is, it is not one to be picked up lightly. And yet beneath all the rawness and rough edges of Bryan Washington’sContinue reading “‘The twilight at the end of every godforsaken intersection’ [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”

‘What’s left if we can’t even understand each other’ [book review]

A review of Trout, Belly Up by Rodrigo Fuentes, translated from the Spanish by Ellen Jones There’s something very diamond-in-the-rough about Trout, Belly Up, another quiet gem from the inimitable Charco Press. A series of interconnected short stories by young Guatemalan author Rodrigo Fuentes, it delves with extraordinary grace and poetic precision into the livesContinue reading “‘What’s left if we can’t even understand each other’ [book review]”

‘The surface of the world is thinner in certain places.’ [book review]

A review of salt slow by Julia Armfield Every now and then I read a book and wonder where it has been all my life. Julia Armfield’s salt slow is one such volume: a collection of short stories so dazzling, so powerful, so unutterably brilliant that it has – in the small yet not insignificantContinue reading “‘The surface of the world is thinner in certain places.’ [book review]”

‘The tedium and indignity of being a person’. A review of You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld

Not everyone loves a short story. Over the last year or so I’ve become increasingly fascinated by them, but the experience can be pretty hit-and-miss. Some collections are exquisite, with each story a perfectly contained world of its own that leaves me moved, surprised, sometimes astounded. Others can be a little more challenging – theContinue reading “‘The tedium and indignity of being a person’. A review of You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld”

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