#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 […]

#19 Till Kingdom Come by Andrej Nikolaidis

Posted by on Oct 26, 2015 in book review, novel review | No Comments

    I was offered an opportunity to review this novel by somebody who knew of my love for thrillers, novels with abrupt changes of focus, and the work of Eastern European writers in general. Let’s begin with that middle category – books with abrupt changes of focus. Two of my favourites, Peter Hoeg’s Miss Smilla’s […]

The art of writing and Makerism

Posted by on Oct 24, 2015 in Gatekeeper | No Comments
The art of writing and Makerism

A couple of weeks ago I sold something to somebody and then, a few days later, I saw her wearing it and she told me how much she liked it. Then she asked me why she had never seen me wearing anything I’d made. It’s a bigger question than it sounds because I think it […]

#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 […]

#15 The Rubbish-Picker’s Wife: an unlikely friendship in Kosovo, by Elizabeth Gowing

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in book review | No Comments

Elizabeth Gowing is a writer who is new to me and her current book is not my usual reading. I was sent a copy of The Rubbish-Picker’s Wife to review, which is my disclosure statement – and on my usual basis I said I’d read the book, write a review and ask the author if […]