‘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…

‘The Penelopiad’ by Margaret Atwood (review).

In a much-forgotten episode at the end of Homer’s Odyssey, twelve maids are mercilessly hanged for doing what women must in order to survive. Penelope, unraveller of shrouds and refuser of suitors, who patiently waits twenty years for her husband Odysseus to finish fighting and shagging his way around the Aegean, tells their story, and hers, in this radical feminist reinterpretation of The Odyssey.

‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ by George Saunders (review).

This is a difficult novel, full of pain and agony. If you have lost a loved one, you probably shouldn’t read it, and yet probably should. In President Lincoln, you will see yourself, and Willie will become for you the spitting image of the loved one you lost.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel: Book Review

Her Ladyship commits the not-uncommon indiscretion of reading Wolf Hall after Bring Up The Bodies, and begins to think, as she does sometimes. Though Hilary Mantel’s publishers do her the great disservice of plastering the back cover and spine of her masterpiece with recommendations from two ludicrous sources who know less about literature than Sherlock…

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (Review)

‘Statements, indictments, bills are circulated, shuffled between judges, prosecutors, the Attorney General, the Lord Chancellor’s office; each step in the process clear, logical, and designed to create corpses by due process of law. George Rochford will be tried apart, as a peer; the commoners will be tried first. The order goes to the Tower, ‘Bring…