‘Ghost Wall’ by Sarah Moss (Book Review)

Obsessive love of ancient societies can lead to human sacrifice. It’s an idea that has been explored to great effect by William Golding and Donna Tartt, but Sarah Moss’ folk horror novella Ghost Wall offers a perspective on the issue that resonates much more in a world that has seen far-right extremism come back into fashion….

‘Melmoth’ by Sarah Perry: Book Review (of sorts)

The Monster’s Words to Melmoth To Melmoth the Witness Accept the homage of one who has no name, and who, like you, was born the child of an accursed creator and cast out in the hour of my first great sin. Your travels have bloodied your feet and mine my hands, but while you have…

‘Washington Black’ by Esi Edugyan (Book Review).

Slavery, marine biology, and raw artistic instinct collide in Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black, shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize and winner of the 2018 Giller Prize. George Washington Black’s very name is a mockery of his torment. An eleven-year-old slave on a sugar plantation in Barbados, Wash has not been brought up, but beaten…

What in Tarnation has Disney done to Artemis Fowl?

This month in ‘there is nothing in this world that Disney cannot fuck up’, we examine the trailer for that Artemis Fowl movie that should have been made when Asa Butterfield was still young enough to play the lead. The trailer subjects the story to numerous indignities that include a pathological case of seeing things through rose-tinted…

‘Everything Under’ by Daisy Johnson (Book Review).

In the Booker Prize-nominated Everything Under, Daisy Johnson exchanges one vivid mythology for another by transplanting the Oedipus myth into a remote canal boat community in modern England. The book is mesmerising, unusual and pleasantly challenging, placing unusual trust in the reader and successfully challenging a number of literary conventions.

‘L’allée du Roi’ by Françoise Chandernagor (Book Review)

When looking back on the lives and impact of Louis XIV’s many mistresses, it is difficult to ignore the fact that Madame de Maintenon rarely makes the top of the list. In spite of her considerable political power, her sincere interest in the relief of the poor and her belief in the importance of educating…

Holmes and Watson discuss ‘Holmes and Watson’.

‘To the man who loves art for its own sake,’ remarked Sherlock Holmes, tossing aside the advertisement sheet of the Daily Telegraph, ‘it is frequently in its least important and lowliest manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived.’ ‘My dear friend, how can you say such a thing?’ I exclaimed with some surprise,…

‘The House with the Stained Glass Window’ by Żanna Słoniowska (tr. Antonia Lloyd Jones): Book review.

History, pain and identity pile up like strata across four generations of Russian-speaking, ethnic Polish women in Żanna Słoniowska’s stunning novel of Soviet Ukraine, The House with the Stained Glass Window. The young, unnamed female narrator of The House with the Stained Glass Window (Polish title : Dom z witrażem) lives with her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother in the Ukrainian city…

‘History of Wolves’ by Emily Fridlund (review)

I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Critics have seen much in Emily Fridlund’s History of Wolves. It was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize, an incredible achievement for a first novel. It has been described as ‘a beautiful literary work’ (BBC Radio 4) and ‘one of the most intelligent and poetic novels…