The Burning Girl by Claire Messud

“You’d think it wouldn’t bother me now. The Burneses moved away long ago. Two years have passed.”  It’s always a pleasurable feeling to begin a novel when the writer is as sure footed and smart as Messud – a whole story lays promisingly ahead.  Julie and Cassie are unlikely best friends. (Unlikely because of their […]

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A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray

  The Bradley family are devout Mormons. Ian is the Bishop, his wife, Claire, converted to the faith before marrying him and together they are bringing up their four children – Alma, Zippy, Jacob and Issy, following stringent Mormon rules. The author was herself, until relatively recently, a practising Mormon, so it’s fair to assume […]

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Cartwheel by Jennifer DuBois

I was sent this book in e-reader format which had no accompanying blurb, so I read with no inkling of what it was about. It begins with a father, Andrew, arriving in Buenos Aires with Anna, his youngest daughter. Lily, his eldest, is in jail accused of murdering her room mate. It is clearly based […]

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The Circle by Dave Eggers

For some reason I always link Dave Eggers and Douglas Coupland. Maybe because they have long been my two favourite contemporary male authors. Egger’s latest novel “The Circle” definitely brings to mind “Microserfs”.  The Circle is an exciting, innovative, successful Silicon Valley company. Being employed by them is Mae’s dream job, and she is incredibly […]

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Unexploded by Alison MacLeod

Set in Brighton and spanning the period of May 1940 – June 1941 “Unexploded” is obviously a story about war. It is, however, a deliciously layered novel whose strength is in its dealings with smaller more personal wars as well. The novel leads us through the streets of Brighton, pointing out landmarks and features. Hitler […]

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