Stephanie Sy-Quia (Granta Poetry, 2021); pbk; £10.99 Amnion is the membrane which protects an embryo during pregnancy. Amnion by Stephanie Sy-Quia thrums with potential energy. Although shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Award, it is fluid in form, moving between poetry, essay and autofiction. Biography serves as a throughline, as Sy-Quia traces back her lineage, across Read More
Carys Davies is a novelist and writer of short stories with an impressive array of accolades. I approached her latest novel The Mission House with curiosity and found myself completely immersed in the wistful, gently paced narrative. That is not to say that the novel is lacking; Davies weaves the plot in a temporal structure that comfortably outpaces the reader, and while the lyricism and imagery in the tightly pruned chapters project a magical aura of India, the allegory is a backdrop of post-colonialism and modern political rumblings which hang in the air like humidity; not quite visible yet distinctly discomforting.
A. Kendra Greene is no stranger to museums. As an artist and essayist who has spent most of her career dedicated to museums, she exhibits her own work in museums, and has managed many collections in the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Chicago History Museum, and the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History. She has worked herself into them and around them. This collection of essays takes Greene far from the United States, searching the curiosities of Iceland’s isolated museums.
Holly Pester’s first collection Comic Timing proves to be a very thought-provoking volume and highly deserving of its shortlisting for the Forward Prize’s Best First Collection (2021). Pester creates a deeply personal yet political collection as she weaves between the two to gain a sense of self.
Daisy Lafarge’s debut collection Life Without Air shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, is the ferment of a busy mind drawing from Louis Pasteur’s process of fermentation. Like the intersecting cells on the jacket, suggestive of their proximity, seven sections explore the complexity of human and ecological co-dependence, The inaugural poem, ‘Meridian Dream’, sits title-less Read More
Sitting outside in a motorway cafe on a cool August evening after the mizzling rain, Kirsty Gunn and I talked intensely (as we do) about a novel we had difficulties with. Many of our exchanges were underpinned by the question: how does form and genre enable writing to tackle its subject matter successfully? Will Harris’ Read More
The essay’s star is in the ascendant. While there has been a long—even noble—tradition of essay writing going all the way back to Montaigne’s Essais, many people associate essays with classroom forms of assessment. Yet, of late, more writers have felt emboldened to call their prose ‘essays’. Make it Scream, Make it Burn is a Read More
Carys Davies has been honing her short form craft for many years, with two collections of short stories to her name and a slew of impressive writing credits that include the 2015 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the Royal Society of Literature’s V.S. Pritchett Prize. It should be no surprise then that her Read More
“Where do we come from? Where are we going?” Walter Kempowski’s final novel is encapsulated in these two questions. They sing an existential refrain throughout the entire text, like the chorus of a song. Faced with an uncertain future, Kempowski’s characters try to cling to fragments of the lives they once knew. A fractured, modernist Read More
You know that episode of Friends where Ross is on one of his mildly patronising rants, oblivious to his friends’ disinterest? Yes, I realise that doesn’t narrow it down. It’s this specific one, when he states: “Soon, there will be computers that can carry out the same amount of functions as an actual human brain! Read More