‘The Glass Woman’ by Caroline Lea (Book Review).

Not only is Caroline Lea’s The Glass Woman the best book I have read this year; it also marks the first occasion in a really long time that a novel’s ending has left me crying hysterically into my pillowcase about the brutal, cruel unfairness of this world, and the devastating shortness of happy endings. In this novel…

‘The Day the Sun Died’ by Yan Lianke (Book Review).

As ponderous as a Russian novel and twice as exhausting, Yan Lianke’s The Day the Sun Died is an old-fashioned, feel-bad political satire of the folkloric Animal Farm persuasion. A night of mass somnambulism, or ‘dreamwalking’, as it is called in Chinese, serves as a metaphor for the casual horror perpetrated by the Jinping regime, and the lethal consequences…

‘Night Waking’ by Sarah Moss (Book Review)

Sarah Moss’ Night Waking is a mournful tale of motherhood and family life that is likely to put you off having children forever. While its brutal honesty on the downsides of child bearing is a welcome change from the usual moonshine and roses version of the thing, pacing issues and a lack of narrative spark make…

‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney (Book Review).

The hype is deserved, the rumours are true and the Booker snub is scandalous. Sally Rooney’s Normal People is the love story of the twenty-first century; big on ideas, sparse on words, and awash in the sexual and emotional politics of our generation. Sally Rooney has taken the age-old ‘boy from the wrong side of…

‘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…

‘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,…