‘Both very real and highly abstract’ [book review]

A review of The Border by Erika Fatland, translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson There is a definite sense of journey’s end on reaching the final pages of Erika Fatland’s The Border – for the reader as well as for the author herself. Not only is the book large in size (almost six hundredContinue reading ‘Both very real and highly abstract’ [book review]

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

‘A confluence of exile’ [book review]

A review of To the Lake: A Balkan Journey of War and Peace by Kapka Kassabova Travel writing hasn’t usually provided me with much cause for melancholy. Nostalgia, perhaps, or a sense of yearning. It may be that I have recently been reading through a lens shaped by the current state of the world –Continue reading ‘A confluence of exile’ [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

‘Time could be cleansed with a new name’ [book review]

A review of The Bells of Old Tokyo: Travels in Japanese Time by Anna Sherman It’s been a while since I cried over a book and, it must be said, I didn’t expect it to be this one. ‘Kitasuna’, the chapter in Anna Sherman’s The Bells of Old Tokyo that sees her visiting a museumContinue reading “‘Time could be cleansed with a new name’ [book review]”

‘The axis where the absolute coexists with the infinite’ [book review]

A review of The Immeasurable World by William Atkins The final and perhaps most relevant title in my desert-themed month of reading, William Atkins’s The Immeasurable World is travel writing with a difference. Unlike many travel books that recount a single, extraordinary journey, Atkins’s traces his pursuit of the desert through six different countries onContinue reading “‘The axis where the absolute coexists with the infinite’ [book review]”

‘There is no other place in the world like the Sahara.’ [book review]

A review of Stories of the Sahara by Sanmao, translated from the Chinese by Mike Fu The very first time I read about Sanmao I was smitten. Remembering her aunt in an article for Words Without Borders, Jessica Chen conjured up a character so enthralling that I found – still do find – it hardContinue reading “‘There is no other place in the world like the Sahara.’ [book review]”

The Monthly Booking: May 2020

It appears that this month I am dreaming of far-off places, places that are vast, often inhospitable and to a certain extent unknowable. My starting point when putting together my monthly reading list was ‘desert’, and while a couple of these books have a rather tenuous link to the subject, they have all ended upContinue reading “The Monthly Booking: May 2020”

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