Book reviews

Book Review: Salt Slow by Julia Armfield

Book reviews, Short Stories By December 3, 2019 Tags: , , , , No Comments

I bought Julia Armfield’s much-anticipated debut story collection, Salt Slow, shortly after it came out in May this year. It’s since been shortlisted for the Sunday Times / Young Writer of the Year Award and, with the winner due to be announced on Thursday evening, I wanted to share my thoughts on it. In her brilliantly inventive and haunting debut…

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Book Review: Testament by Kim Sherwood

Book reviews By December 2, 2019 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

Kim Sherwood’s Testament won the 2016 Bath Novel Award and is one of the four books shortlisted for this year’s Sunday Times / University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award which is announced on Thursday. Of everyone in her complicated family, Eva was closest to her grandfather: a charismatic painter – and a keeper of secrets. So when…

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Berlin Alexanderplatz Readalong Week Four

German books, Reading By November 30, 2019 Tags: , , , 4 Comments

I can’t quite believe I made it to the end of the book after such an unpromising start but I did. Marking it as read on Goodreads (for the English translation, at least) felt pretty satisfying. “Chapters” 8/9 Reinhold is possibly the biggest villain in the story. Would you agree? Do you find his punishment satisfying? At one point.I was…

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Berlin Alexanderplatz Readalong Week Three #GermanLitMonth

German books, Reading By November 29, 2019 Tags: , , , No Comments

Week three and the reading was easier, although I’m further behind in the German original than I am with the English translation. More of a time issue than anything else. “Chapters” 6/7 The German original calls the chapters “Books” not chapters. In my opinion this is a gross error and robs the English reader of seeing some intertextual links. How…

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Berlin Alexanderplatz Readalong Week Two #GermanLitMonth

German books, Reading By November 28, 2019 Tags: , , , , 1 Comment

I made it to the end of week two but this was not without its challenges, either. Read on to find out why. Chapters 3 – 5 What do you make of Döblin’s structuring of the novel?  The short summaries at the beginning of each chapter, each section? The montage technique? Initially, I wasn’t a fan of the short summaries…

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Book Review: The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason

Book reviews By November 27, 2019 Tags: , , , No Comments

Daniel Mason’s The Winter Soldier takes a young medical student far from Vienna and into the makeshift world of being a wartime medic in the Galician mountains on the Poland-Ukraine border. Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War I explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, only to find himself posted…

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Berlin Alexanderplatz Readalong Week One #GermanLitMonth

German books, Reading By November 25, 2019 Tags: , , , 3 Comments

As part of #GermanLitMonth, I’m taking part in the Berlin Alexanderplatz readalong. Week One was not a happy one at the Nut Press, which is why I’m posting this so very late in the month. I’ll let my answers to the discussion questions Lizzy set tell you why that was. Chapters 1-2. Welcome to the #germanlitmonth readalong of Alfred Döblin’s…

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Book Review: The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

Book reviews By November 8, 2019 Tags: , , , , No Comments

Writing under the very Brontë-esque pen name of Bella Ellis, Rowan Coleman has come up with a delicious premise for a new series featuring the Brontë sisters before they became published authors. The Vanished Bride is their first outing as detectors. Yorkshire, 1845. A young woman has gone missing from her home, Chester Grange, leaving no trace, save a large…

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Book Review: The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal by Horatio Clare

Book reviews By October 1, 2019 Tags: , , , , No Comments

Horatio Clare writes with great candour and generosity in The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal, offering a fierce flicker of hope to others in this illuminating contemplation of his own depression. As November stubs out the glow of autumn and the days tighten into shorter hours, winter’s occupation begins. Preparing for winter has its own rhythms, as old…

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Book Review: Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke

Book reviews By September 23, 2019 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

Heaven, My Home, the second book in Attica Locke’s Highway 59 series, uses a child’s disappearance to devastating effect in order to explore displacement, reconciliation and just what home means to people. Nine-year-old Levi King knew he should have left for home sooner; instead he found himself all alone, adrift on the vastness of Caddo Lake. A sudden noise –…

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