Book Review: The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, Shehan Karunatilaka

A kaleidoscopic performance: a colourful, dizzying and disorientating exploration of the turmoil in Sri Lanka in the 1980s and 1990s, and our host for this exploration is the recently deceased Maali Almeida, "Photographer. Gambler. Slut."

Book Review: When We Were Orphans, Kazuo Ishiguro

Occasionally brilliant, but somehow less satisfying than I would expect from an Ishiguro novel, When We Were Orphans explores familiar themes and characters but feels perhaps shackled by the weight of its own detective fiction baggage.

Book Review: Shrines of Gaiety, Kate Atkinson

Replete with fascinating characters, Atkinson's wit and humanity shines as she peels apart the sordid vapidity of the interwar Jazz Age and Bright Young Things - this delight is, by turns, tender, delicate and wonderfully satirical.

Book Review: Small Things Like These, Claire Keegan

A technically fascinating account as Burnet adopts the different voices of his two protagonists as they invent and reinvent and lose their own identities; the reading experience was rather let down but how unlikeable those characters were.

Book Review: Case Study, Graeme Macrae Burnet

A technically fascinating account as Burnet adopts the different voices of his two protagonists as they invent and reinvent and lose their own identities; the reading experience was rather let down but how unlikeable those characters were.

Book Review: Booth, Karen Joy Fowler

SIX BROTHERS AND SISTERS. ONE INJUSTICE THAT WILL SHATTER THEIR BOND FOREVER. Junius is the patriarch, a celebrated Shakespearean actor who fled bigamy charges in England, both a mesmerising talent and a man of terrifying instability. As his children grow up in a remote farmstead in 1830s rural Baltimore, the country draws ever closer to… Continue reading Book Review: Booth, Karen Joy Fowler

Book Review: The Half-Life of Valery K, Natasha Pulley

In 1963, in a Siberian prison, former nuclear specialist Valery Kolkhanov has mastered what it takes to survive: the right connections to the guards for access to food and cigarettes, the right pair of warm boots, and the right attitude toward the small pleasures of life so he won't go insane. But one day, all… Continue reading Book Review: The Half-Life of Valery K, Natasha Pulley

Book Review: The Island Of Missing Trees, Elif Shafak

It is 1974 on the island of Cyprus. Two teenagers, from opposite sides of a divided land, meet at a tavern in the city they both call home. The tavern is the only place that Kostas, who is Greek and Christian, and Defne, who is Turkish and Muslim, can meet, in secret, hidden beneath the… Continue reading Book Review: The Island Of Missing Trees, Elif Shafak

Book Review: Mrs Caliban, Rachel Ingalls

Dorothy is a grieving housewife in the Californian suburbs; her husband is unfaithful, but they are too unhappy to get a divorce. One day, she is doing chores when she hears strange voices on the radio announcing that a green-skinned sea monster has escaped from the Institute for Oceanographic Research - but little does she… Continue reading Book Review: Mrs Caliban, Rachel Ingalls

Book Review: Cloud Cuckoo Land, Anthony Doerr

When everything is lost, it’s our stories that survive How do we weather the end of things? Cloud Cuckoo Land brings together an unforgettable cast of dreamers and outsiders from past, present and future to offer a vision of survival against all odds. Constantinople, 1453:An orphaned seamstress and a cursed boy with a love for animals risk… Continue reading Book Review: Cloud Cuckoo Land, Anthony Doerr

Book Review: The First Woman, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

As Kirabo enters her teens, questions begin to gnaw at her – questions which the adults in her life will do anything to ignore. Where is the mother she has never known? And why would she choose to leave her daughter behind? Inquisitive, headstrong, and unwilling to take no for an answer, Kirabo sets out… Continue reading Book Review: The First Woman, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Book Review: The Mermaid of Black Conch, Monique Roffey

Near the island of Black Conch, a fisherman sings to himself while waiting for a catch. But David attracts a sea-dweller that he never expected - Aycayia, an innocent young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid.When American tourists capture Aycayia, David rescues her and vows to win her trust. Slowly, painfully,… Continue reading Book Review: The Mermaid of Black Conch, Monique Roffey

Book Review: The Women of Troy, Pat Barker

Synopsis Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home as victors - all they need is a good wind to lift their sails. But the wind has vanished, the seas becalmed by vengeful gods, and so the warriors remain in limbo - camped in the shadow of the city… Continue reading Book Review: The Women of Troy, Pat Barker

Book Review: Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel

The world is not run from where he thinks. Not from border fortresses, not even from Whitehall. The world is run from Antwerp, from Florence, from places he has never imagined; from Lisbon, from where the ships with sails of silk drift west and are burned up in the sun. Not from the castle walls,… Continue reading Book Review: Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel

Book Review: Snow, John Banville

“How strange a thing it was to be here, animate and conscious, on this ball of mud and brine as it whirled through the illimitable depths of space.” John Banville has been writing crime novels under the pen name of Benjamin Black for some years - since Christine Falls in 2007 - and with Snow… Continue reading Book Review: Snow, John Banville

Book Review: Small Pleasures, Clare Chambers

Small pleasures – the first cigarette of the day; a glass of sherry before Sunday lunch; a bar of chocolate parcelled out to last a week; a newly published library book, still pristine and untouched by other hands; the first hyacinths of spring; a neatly folded pile of ironing, smelling of summer; the garden under… Continue reading Book Review: Small Pleasures, Clare Chambers

Book Review: On Midnight Beach, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

Seth Cullen killed a dog when he was eight...I kept clear of Dog Cullen. Till the summer we turned seventeen, the summer the dolphin came to Ross Bay. That summer I looked in Dog Cullen’s eyes – one green, one blue – and I forgot to walk away. Once upon a time, in the green… Continue reading Book Review: On Midnight Beach, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

Book Review: The Mitford Trial, Jessica Fellowes

‘What would one call a group of Mitfords?’ asked Nancy, her tiny waist beautifully shown off in its tailored jacket of black and white dogtooth check. She sat by a round table, a glass of sherry at her hand. ‘A haven? A giggle?’‘A swarm,’ said Tom, taking a long draught of ale. Once upon a… Continue reading Book Review: The Mitford Trial, Jessica Fellowes

Book Review: The Familiars, Stacey Halls

“If the Devil is poverty, and hunger, and grief, then yes, I think they know the Devil.” Before I begin this review, imagine the following scene. A colleague who generally shares similar tastes to you in reading comes up to you and starts to rave about her current read. It is apparently wonderful, so heartbreaking,… Continue reading Book Review: The Familiars, Stacey Halls

Transcription, Kate Atkinson

“The world is a comedy to those that think; a tragedy to those that feel,” “But then, what constituted real? Wasn’t everything, even this life itself, just a game of deception?” Kate Atkinson is such a pleasure to read! Human and emotional, thoughtful and smart at the same time. Whether it be detective fiction in… Continue reading Transcription, Kate Atkinson

Execution, S. J. Parris

All it would take - so I believed - was one ruler willing to allow people of different faiths to live alongside one another without persecution, and surely they would begin to recognise that their common humanity superseded the division they had been taught to fear? The Tudor period does hold such a firm and… Continue reading Execution, S. J. Parris

Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell

“Anyone, Eliza is thinking, who describes dying as ‘slipping away’ or ‘peaceful’ has never witnessed it happen. Death is violent, death is a struggle. The body clings to life, as ivy to a wall, and will not easily let go, will not surrender its grip without a fight.”

Burn, Patrick Ness

“I'm just a girl.""It is tragic how well you have been taught to say that with sadness rather than triumph.” Patrick Ness... Dragons... The Cold War... yes please! It is no shock to readers of this blog that Patrick Ness is one of my favourite authors: the Chaos Walking Trilogy, A Monster Calls - which… Continue reading Burn, Patrick Ness

And the Ocean Was Our Sky, Patrick Ness

Opening with that echo of the famous first line of Moby-Dick, Bathsheba is telling her tale as a cautionary warning, a plea, a prophecy. A cautionary tale which, for all the fantastical elements, sounds terribly relevant to and important for the world we are living in.

The Mercies, Kiran Millwood Hargrave

an extraordinary and breathtaking piece of writing which leaves only one question: why has it not been listed for the Women's Prize for Fiction?