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.
Face to face conversation has been a rarity this past year, and sadly my time spent getting to know author and poet Oliver K. Langmead was no exception. He agrees, ‘I feel as if I’m spending half my life in Zoom meetings, or typing away in a Word document – staring at the same screen Read More
The Midnight Library focuses on the life of Nora Seed, a 35-year-old woman whose life appears to be without meaning or love. A life of regrets. After losing what little she feels she has left, Nora decides that life is no longer for her. Instead of dying, she finds herself in an in-between world – a place that is neither life nor death. Here, Nora is presented with the Midnight Library along with the opportunity to change every choice she’s ever made.
Kevin Barry’s most recent collection of short stories, That Old Country Music, once again proves his stronghold in the industry. The highly-acclaimed Irish writer uses this collection to explore many narratives that flow alongside the perils of passion. Barry creates this standpoint as a sort of anti-romantic. Each of the eleven stories proves of great interest in this way: from the heartbreak of a loveless life in ‘The Coast of Leitrim’ to the lost narrative of a runaway child in ‘Roma Kid’.
Tom Hubbard(Grace Note Publications, 2020); pbk: £7.99 The Devil and Michael Scott: A Gallimaufry of Fife and Beyond (2020) is the latest insightful offering from Tom Hubbard. In this intriguing collection of poems, essays and a stage play, Hubbard offers us a wonderful jumble of Fife, its history and its people. The famous polymath and Read More
Annie Zaidi is a writer, journalist, prize-winning playwright and essayist whose novel, A Prelude to a Riot was shortlisted in 2019 for the JCB prize for Indian literature. The book centres around three generations of two landowning families, one Hindu and one Muslim, in an unnamed town in Southern India. Other characters include Garuda, a Read More
When I lived in London my dad and I had a game about being happy. We called it the Happy Game … I nearly stopped playing the game for a while … but then I thought, well, happiness really doesn’t count for much if it only depends on good things happening to us, does it? Read More
Pedophobia – the excessive fear of children – is a staple within the horror genre, unsettling and interrogating our primal instinct towards nurturing the young. There’s the sadistic son in Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin, the adolescent cult in Stephen King’s Children of the Corn, or the tribal warfare of stranded schoolboys Read More