#31 After Disasters by Viet Dinh

Posted by on Oct 17, 2016 in #100reviews, book review, novel review | No Comments

Apart from having one of the best covers I have seen in recent years, Viet Dinh’s debut novel was a thoroughly enjoyable read, to me, for three reasons: It explores gay male life without explanations, without apology and without titillation The topic – aid workers and disaster recovery – is one that I know a […]

#30 About My Mother by Tahar Ben Jelloun

Posted by on Sep 15, 2016 in #100reviews, book review, novel review | No Comments

      First and foremost, I am ashamed … only my thirtieth review and I claimed I wasn’t going to take forever about these 100 reviews! However … I have been revising a complex novel which my agent is about to start sending out, and I have also written four short stories that I […]

#25 Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon

Posted by on Jan 16, 2016 in #100reviews, book review, novel review | No Comments

  I have always understood Pynchon to be inaccessible, so in choosing Inherent Vice as my first Pynchon I was deliberately opting for the most accessible of his novels. Perhaps it’s not at all representative – Gravity’s Rainbow is described as ‘sweeping’, ‘complex’, and even ‘mysterious’ – but Inherent Vice is more of a romp […]

#21 The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Michael Chabon

Posted by on Nov 18, 2015 in #100reviews, book review, novel review | No Comments
#21 The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Michael Chabon

  It would be churlish to start with a complaint, but I am a churl. The only problem with this book, for me, was that it piled so many larger than life characters into the narrative that by the time we meet possibly the ultimate (or he may be the penultimate, if you consider unveiling […]

#18 Depths, by Henning Mankell

Posted by on Oct 15, 2015 in #100reviews, book review, novel review | No Comments

There seems to be a Scandinavian preoccupation with measurement. In Peter Hoeg’s novel, Borderliners, it is the measurement of time that is central to the narrative, in Depths, by Henning Mankell it is the distance between the surface of the ocean and the sea bed. Or at least, that’s how it begins. Lars Tobiasson-Svartman is […]

#17 The Prague Cemetery, by Umberto Eco

Posted by on Oct 9, 2015 in #100reviews | No Comments

I’m one of those odd creatures who believes Umberto Eco’s masterwork to be Foucault’s Pendulum, not The Name of the Rose. The Prague Cemetery did not challenge this view for me. It’s a fantastically constructed novel (as in fantastical, rather than fantastic) which drapes a veil of fiction around some of the most unpalatable facts […]

# 16 Breakfast with the Borgias by DBC Pierre

Posted by on Oct 8, 2015 in #100reviews | No Comments

A novel (or in this case novella) by DBC Pierre should be approached with caution. Unlike Vernon God Little nothing much coruscates in Breakfast with the Borgias: a mobile phone is briefly thrown on a fire like the funeral of modern communications and a sandal strap on an old woman’s foot crackles and snaps like […]

#14 Amsterdam by Ian McEwan

Posted by on May 30, 2015 in #100reviews, book review, novel review | 2 Comments
#14 Amsterdam by Ian McEwan

I’m really not doing well with this book review project, am I? But I have my reasons – I published a novel with Amazon, at the same time as my wonderful agent retired from the business, and my new agent (also wonderful, am I not a lucky writer?) is trying to get said novel in […]

#12 Istemi by Alexei Nikitin

Posted by on Apr 8, 2015 in #100reviews | No Comments

I bought Istemi because it was translated by somebody I know. That’s ‘know’ in the internet sense, rather than the gnostic or biblical senses. I’ve never actually met Anne Marie Jackson but in the way that writers get to know other writers partly by their words and partly by their works, I was interested to […]

#4 Millennium by John Varley, multiple editions

#4 Millennium by John Varley, multiple editions

Multiple spoiler alert – just don’t read on if you plan to read this book yourself. And I would recommend that you do – it’s a good read. Some science fiction stands the test of time. Some doesn’t. I remember reading Millennium in 1985, two years after it was published, and being blown away by […]