Book Review: The Kingdoms, Natasha Pulley

Come home, if you remember.The postcard has been held at the sorting office for ninety-one years, waiting to be delivered to Joe Tournier. On the front is a lighthouse - Eilean Mor, in the Outer Hebrides.Joe has never left England, never even left London. He is a British slave, one of thousands throughout the French… Continue reading Book Review: The Kingdoms, Natasha Pulley

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 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: 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: 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: 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

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

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.”

Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo

For the sisters & the sistas & the sistahs & the sistren & the women & the womxn & the wimmin & the womyn & our brethren & our bredrin & our brothers & our bruvs & our men & our mandem & the LGBTQI+ members of the human family

Quichotte, Salman Rushdie

This is the sort of novel I feel the need to reach for metaphor to describe, tired and cliched metaphors at that: it is a roller coaster, a kaleidoscope, a hall of mirrors, shifting sands.... It is dazzling - but being dazzled is not always the most comfortable experience!

Blood Wedding, Pierre Lemaitre

One problem I have - and it perhaps says more about me than anything else! - is that I tend to rely on familiar authors so in crime I have been reliant on Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series, Susan Hill's Simon Serrailler series, Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie novels and a few others: Anthony Horowitz,… Continue reading Blood Wedding, Pierre Lemaitre

Starve Acre, Andrew Michael Hurley

Wow! This was deliciously dark and disturbing! An ideal creepy read for that strange, unsettling time between Christmas and the New Year, where no one quite knows what day of the week it is or how long they have left on holiday! I'd listened to The Loney by Hurley as an audiobook a little while… Continue reading Starve Acre, Andrew Michael Hurley

The Starless Sea, Erin Morgenstern

It has been an age since I read The Night Circus - so long ago that this blog did not exist - but I remember it as ephemeral, atmospheric, beautiful and moving. So the news this year that Morgenstern was bringing out another novel was huge - huge! So it was downloaded on the day… Continue reading The Starless Sea, Erin Morgenstern

One Good Turn, Kate Atkinson

Read with caution: Cleaning companies may never be the same again! I've come to Kate Atkinson late in her career: I can recall surprisingly vividly my mother's water damaged, crinkly paper copy of Behind the Scenes at the Museum teetering on the side of the bath - an avocado kitsch bath - from my childhood… Continue reading One Good Turn, Kate Atkinson

Circe, Madeline Miller

Divine days fall like water from a cataract, and I had not learned yet the mortal trick of counting them.

My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite

Next up, from the Women's Prize Longlist came Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, the Serial Killer, an interesting parallel to Akwaeke Emezi's Freshwater. It is an intriguing little novel - a mere 240 pages, for those for whom that is relevant, not much more than a day or weekend's read - and remarkably effective in the… Continue reading My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite

Freshwater, Akwaeke Emezi

I have lived many lives inside this body. I lived many lives before they put me in this body. I will live many lives when they take me out of it.

Melmoth, Sarah Perry

Look! It is winter in Prague: night is rising in the mother of cities and over her thousand spires. Look down at the darkness around your feet, in all the lanes and alleys, as if it were a soft black dust swept there by a broom; look at the stone apostles on the old Charles Bridge, and at all the blue-eyed jackdaws on the shoulders of St. John of Nepomuk. Look!