Category Archives: fiction

The gallows pole by Benjamin Myers (Bluemoose)

“Soot and ash. Snot and spume. Quag and sump and clotted moss. Loam.” THE opening playful poetry should not distract you… we are off to a flying start, it is 1767, we are on a secret errand, we pass the … Continue reading

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Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber)

“Marianne amswers the door when Connell rings the bell.” BY coincidence I heard a radio broadcast where a well known doctor admitted to flunking out of Oxford because of an unhappy love affair and where the plot details do not … Continue reading

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The shepherd’s hut by Tim Winton (Picador)

“When I hit the bitumen and get that smooth grey rumble going under me everything’s hell different” THERE is a sticker on my edition proclaiming that this has been a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, which is a bit … Continue reading

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Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Jonathan Cape)

  “In 1945 our parents went away and left us in the care of two men who may have been criminals.”   I RECOMMEND that you do not read too many reviews of this brilliant contender for the Man Booker … Continue reading

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The president’s hat by Antoine Laurain (Gallic)

“Daniel Mercier went up the stairs at Gare Saint-Lazare as the crowd surged down.”   THE hat in question – and in the original French edition – belongs to president Francois Mitterand. It is probably just coincidence that two of … Continue reading

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The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain (Gallic)

“The taxi had dropped her on the corner of the boulevard.” This is very filmable – a French comedy of manners, of mores, of missing identities. A screen version might skip the rich literary (French) references but the compensation of … Continue reading

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Lincoln in the bardo by George Sanders (Bloomsbury)

“On our wedding day I was forty-six, she was eighteen.” The Bardo of the title is a Buddhist idea of a transitional state between life and death, a purgatory. I mention it because no one else bothers. There is a … Continue reading

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