Book Review: Build Your House Around My Body, Violet Kupersmith

1986: The teenage daughter of a wealthy Vietnamese family gets lost in an abandoned rubber plantation while fleeing her angry father, and is forever changed by the experience. 2011: Twenty-five years later, a young, unhappy Vietnamese-American disappears from her new home in Saigon without a trace.The fates of both women are inescapably linked, bound together by past generations, by ghosts and ancestors, by the history of possessed bodies and… Continue reading Book Review: Build Your House Around My Body, Violet Kupersmith

Book Review: October, October by Katya Balen

October and her dad live in the woods. They know the trees and the rocks and the lake and stars like best friends. They live in the woods and they are wild. And that's the way it is.Until the year October turns eleven. That's the year October rescues a baby owl. It's the year Dad… Continue reading Book Review: October, October by Katya Balen

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: Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens

After Oliver Twist asks nasty Mr Bumble for more food, he has to flee the workhouse for the streets of London. Here he meets the Artful Dodger, who leads him to Fagin and his gang of pickpockets. When a thieving mission goes wrong, Oliver narrowly avoids prison and finds himself in the care of kind… Continue reading Book Review: Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens

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 Death of Vivek Oji, Akwaeke Emezi

Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the… Continue reading Book Review: The Death of Vivek Oji, Akwaeke Emezi

Book Review: Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro

'The Sun always has ways to reach us.'From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges… Continue reading Book Review: Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro

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 Editor’s Wife, Clare Chambers

When aspiring novelist Christopher Flinders drops out of university to write his masterpiece (in between shifts as a fish delivery man and builder's mate), his family is sceptical.But when he is taken up by the London editor Owen Goddard and his charming wife Diana it seems success is just around the corner. Christopher's life has… Continue reading Book Review: The Editor’s Wife, Clare Chambers

Book Review: Second Place, Rachel Cusk

The truth lies not in any claim to reality, but in the place where what is real moves beyond our interpretation of it. True art means seeking to capture the unreal.Rachel Cusk Synopsis A woman invites a famed artist to visit the remote coastal region where she lives, in the belief that his vision will… Continue reading Book Review: Second Place, Rachel Cusk

Book Review: Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart

“Rain was the natural state of Glasgow. It kept the grass green and the people pale and bronchial.” I have been delaying reviewing this book for a while, wanting to let it dwell in my mind for some time before putting my thoughts down... and then life got in the way - as did new… Continue reading Book Review: Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart

Book Review: Piranesi, Susanna Clarke

Oh my goodness! This was just sublime! It took a few chapters to get into and was not what I had expected at all from the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell but once you were in, this was a novel that did not let go and which haunts the reader long after reading… Continue reading Book Review: Piranesi, Susanna Clarke

Book Review: The Golden Rule, Amanda Craig

There are people who read out of necessity, and people who read out of love. Hannah was one of the latter, and when she found a book she liked she sank into it as if into another world. Voices, music, pneumatic drills all became inaudible; she was the kind of child who would go off… Continue reading Book Review: The Golden Rule, Amanda Craig

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: Exciting Times, Naoise Dolan

“I thought that if i let anyone in, they’d find out what was broken about me. And then not only would they know, I’d know too.” Meet Ava. Ava is a twenty-two year-old ex pat from Dublin, living in Hong Kong in a grubby Airbnb and teaching English as a Foreign Language to eight year… Continue reading Book Review: Exciting Times, Naoise Dolan

Book Review: White is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi

“But then, maybe “I don’t believe in you” is the cruelest way to kill a monster.” Oyeyemi has been on my radar for a while, but has been languishing on my bookshelf for longer than she deserves. There were words and phrases connected to her which tantalised - fairy tale, gothic, ghost, unconventional - and… Continue reading Book Review: White is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi

Book Review: The Redhead by the Side of the Road, Anne Tyler

“The only place I went wrong, he writes, was expecting things to be perfect. Abruptly, he signals for a turn, and when the light changes he heads east instead of continuing north.” After reading a number of heavily plot driven books this year, Redhead was a definite change of pace for me. I'd not read… Continue reading Book Review: The Redhead by the Side of the Road, Anne Tyler

Book Review: Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado

Stories can sense happiness and snuff it out like a candle. I have a certain weakness in my reading, and that is fairytales. Fairytales that cleave to the dark and unnerving quality of pre-Disney versions. Fairytales which are anything but children's stories. Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber is one of my favourite books and a… Continue reading Book Review: Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado

The Searcher, Tana French

“The morning has turned lavishly beautiful. The autumn sun gave the greens of the fields an impossible, mythic radiance and transformed the back roads into light-muddled paths where a goblin with a fiddle, or a pretty maiden with a basket, could be waiting around every game and-bramble bend. Cal is in no mood to appreciate… Continue reading The Searcher, Tana French

Book Review: Such A Fun Age, Kiley Reid

“I don't need you to be mad that it happened. I need you to be mad that it just like... happens.” I have been holding fire on reviewing this book for a few weeks because it is a - a difficult, problematic novel in my view. A novel which is almost good, almost dealt with… Continue reading Book Review: Such A Fun Age, Kiley Reid

Summer, Ali Smith

For a novel so deeply deeply contemporary, there is a timelessness about Smith's writing and prose, accentuated by the interplay of ideas and characters between the four novels in the Quartet. These are luminous books that recognise and celebrate the presence of the past in the present.

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.”

Daisy Jones and The Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid

I remember seeing Daisy on the dance floor one night at the Whisky. Everybody saw her. Your eye went right to her. If the rest of the world was silver, Daisy was gold.