#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 […]


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 […]

#24 The Sacrifice by Joyce Carol Oates

Posted by on Jan 2, 2016 in book review, novel review | No Comments

One of the most powerful books I ever read was Blonde – a searing account of the imagined interior life of Marilyn Monroe. Whilst Oates insists that this work, like The Sacrifice, must be seen as a product of the imagination, not an account of history, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that in both cases. […]

#23 Sunset Park by Paul Auster

Posted by on Dec 29, 2015 in book review, novel review | No Comments
#23 Sunset Park by Paul Auster

I seem to be on a run of male authors at the moment, which is entirely coincidental, I think. Paul Auster is new to me, and I was interested in reading about his literary work to learn that he uses certain literary devices – one of which is a twinning or mirroring of circumstance. I […]

#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 […]

#20 Brewster by Mark Slouka

Posted by on Nov 7, 2015 in book review, novel review | No Comments

Many, many years ago, I wrote about ‘The Visible World’ and argued, somewhat contentiously I now think, that it was one of those novels that fails, but fails rather wonderfully. By ‘fail’ I mean that the reader, at the end of the novel, is left with a feeling of dissatisfaction about something (or somebody) instrumental […]