Falling is Like Flying is Manon Uphoff’s autobiographical exploration of the traumatic sexual abuse experienced at the hands of her tyrannical father. With a courageous and extraordinary story to share, Uphoff returns to the dark labyrinth of her childhood to ‘catch sight of what I was there: the final doll in the matryoshka. The doll you can’t open.’ Despite her initial reticence, the recollections gather momentum as she relentlessly relives the trauma endured within a family that was both ordinary and deeply disturbed.
Alice Hiller’s potent debut collection, bird of winter, commands respect and reverence. Composure is required to absorb this essential and courageously intimate exploration of sexual abuse.
Katherine Angel (Verso Press, 2021; hbk, £10.99) ‘What does a woman want?’, Freud’s now infamous lines, could be uttered as a genuine question ― or as an exasperated retort, replete with exclamation. Between these two poles lie a multitude of complex positions that mark (or give lie) to our cultural assumptions about sexual relations. Katherine Read More
John Muckle (Shearsman Books Ltd., 2020); pbk, £12.95 There is nothing extraordinary about Highfields housing estate in Honiton, near Dunkswell, situated close to a military airfield in Devon which acts like a centrifugal force on the lives of the residents. Yet John Muckle, poet, writer, editor, animates the lives of the most ordinary characters in Read More
MLITT, WRITING PRACTICE AND STUDY 2019-21 SHOWCASE A small crowd consisting mostly of students sit around the wooden table. Some of them have grown rowdier with each swall sank and there have been a fair few swalls sank by now. I had wanted some time alone before having to join them. I’ve been standing by Read More
Some books lead readers gently by the hand and others push them in at the deep end. In her latest novel, The Night-Side of the Country, Meaghan Delahunt opens with a standalone sentence designed to launch you firmly into the post #metoo waters: ‘The days drew in and the men fell hard.’ From that moment on, the novel delivers a highly charged and fast paced read.
Elizabeth Chakrabarty’s first novel, Lessons in Love and Other Crimes takes the reader on a journey of racial hate crimes, through various lenses and differing angles. A surprising combination of charming romance and tense criminal investigation to narrow down a predator, these two genres put into play by Chakrabarty have a somewhat abrasive relationship with each other throughout the text, but their opposing forces are a perfect pairing.
Weather, the third novel from Jenny Offill, reveals a juxtaposition of modern anxieties: marriage and motherhood demand microscopic introspection at one end of the scale, while the amorphous threat of indistinct global destruction looms large at the other.
I read Summerwater in January 2021, on the eve of Brexit, and the shock has yet to wear off. Sarah Moss has six novels to her name and this, her most recent, poetically portends the dangers of casual prejudice. Set in a cabin park in the Highlands, a day of dreadful summer rain stretches out the solstice for the holiday makers.
Maaza Mengiste’s second novel, The Shadow King, was shortlisted for the Booker prize in 2020 and bears all the hallmarks of the accolade. ‘Beautiful and devastating’ is Marlon James’ endorsement. What he means, we can assume, is that the writing is beautiful but its content devastating; the prose is vibrantly lyrical but the subject matter roams the darkest corners of conflict, something hard to reconcile with the word beautiful.