To end the year … Wollongong Short Story Prize

Posted by on Dec 21, 2016 in short story prize | No Comments

      It has been a whimpery sort of year, so many great people leaving this world, so many scary ones standing centre stage upon it, superb for gathering material (as all writers are required to think of such things, apparently) and not so great for serenity, I was lucky enough to have a […]

#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 […]

A digression on digressions …

Posted by on Oct 10, 2016 in Uncategorised | 2 Comments

As far as I can tell, the only people reading this blog are other writers, which is okay, I’m reasonably fond of my own kind. But on the other hand, I’m not entirely sure how much writers care about reviews of the books of other writers. I have a pretty clear idea how they feel […]

#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 […]

#29 The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert

Posted by on May 23, 2016 in book review, novel review | One Comment

  This eerie combination of inverted folk tale and psychological thriller is a difficult book to categories but for that very reason, exactly the kind of book that compels the reader to continue. Briefly put, a disfigured recluse spends his days cataloguing books on his remote estate, whilst his sister runs some kind of family […]

#28 Harraga by Boualem Sansal

Posted by on May 10, 2016 in book review, novel review | No Comments

Any reviewer takes on a task that they must first define for themselves – known (I think) as a harsh critic I’m also an avid reader. I like ‘failed’ novels as much as ‘successful’ ones and often define the two very differently to the mainstream. So in approaching Harraga by Boualem Sansal I will begin […]

SODA …

Posted by on May 8, 2016 in book review, novel review | No Comments

A wise man once taught me that Structure, Order, Discipline and Accountability  (SODA) would help me in every area of life. He was right. I am a terminal procrastinator (although the past 3 months have been given over to a substantial reworking of a novel in line with my agent’s comments so I’m terminal, not […]

#27 Confessions of a Gentleman Arachnid

Posted by on Apr 27, 2016 in book review, novel review | No Comments

Michael’s Coolwood’s PR person got in touch with me to ask if I’d like to review his book. I said (to myself) I really wouldn’t. Then I went and took a little look at Mr Coolwood on YouTube and changed my mind. I’m still not quite sure why, except he seems like a nice chap […]

#26 Between the Assassinations by Aravind Adiga

Posted by on Jan 31, 2016 in book review, novel review, Uncategorised | No Comments

  In Kittur, a fictional small town very much like many South Indian coastal towns, the usual hive of Indian life takes place. Aravind Adiga takes the reader on a dual tour – of the town itself in sententious guidebook excerpts which are supposed to introduce us to the highlights of the place but actually […]

#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 […]