‘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]

‘Not an elegant, studied gesture but a convulsive act’ [book review]

A review of In the Margins by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein In our world of instant celebrity, Elena Ferrante is something of an anomaly. For three decades, she has been publishing – with wild success – under a pseudonym, her true identity known only to her Italian publisher. Though sheContinue reading ‘Not an elegant, studied gesture but a convulsive act’ [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]

‘Life from the margins can be perfectly fruitful’ [book review]

A review of The Intimate Resistance by Josep Maria Esquirol, translated from the Catalan by Douglas Suttle, and Wilder Winds by Bel Olid, translated from the Catalan by Laura McLoughlin The world can be pretty exhausting sometimes. In this age of information and global connection, it can seem as though we are being urged fromContinue reading ‘Life from the margins can be perfectly fruitful’ [book review]

‘Cloth tells the story’ [book review]

A review of Worn: A People’s History of Clothing by Sofi Thanhauser ‘Unerringly, cloth tells the story of the rise and fall of our societies and cultures,’ writes Sofi Thanhauser in the conclusion to Worn: A People’s History of Clothing – a statement with which, having read this richly detailed book, I am more thanContinue reading ‘Cloth tells the story’ [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]

‘The man who planted roses’ [book review]

A review of Orwell’s Roses by Rebecca Solnit Of all the great figures of twentieth-century literature, George Orwell is without doubt one of the most towering. As Rebecca Solnit rightly points out in her recent, creatively approached biography, he is one of the few writers – of any period; another is Shakespeare – to haveContinue reading “‘The man who planted roses’ [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]

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