A review of Three Women and Educated

I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction recently and both Three Women by Lisa Taddeo and Educated by Tara Westover are interesting. (Very different books that I’m only squishing together because I’ve been meaning to pop reviews of them up for ages.) Three Women is a book I guzzled down. This is a non-fiction exploration... Continue Reading →

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... Continue Reading →

My name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Strout is an exemplary storyteller and having adored Olive Kitteridge so damn much, I trust her to tell a quietly unfussy and moving story. MNiLB is narrated by Lucy Barton who looks back at a long stay she had some time in the eighties in hospital recovering from a post-op infection. Her husband and children... Continue Reading →

The Way We Die Now by Seamus O’Mahony

  My dad died on February 15th and my world transformed. I am grief-stricken. It’s no surprise that I have turned to books seeking solace, or at least some kind of understanding. The first book I read was “When Breath Becomes Air” which in retrospect I found unsatisfactory and unhelpful. “The Way We Die Now”... Continue Reading →

Adult Onset by Ann-Marie MacDonald

I was given Adult Onset by my boss. (I think she is my reading twin and it’s very cool to have met someone whose reading tastes seems to chime so exactly with my own.) I’d never heard of Ann-Marie MacDonald before, but wow, Adult Onset is a stunning novel and MacDonald is an exceptional writer.... Continue Reading →

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay’s short fiction has appeared in many of the literary journals I’ve read over the last eight years or so. She’s editor of the mighty PANK. She writes a wonderful blog. Her non-fiction has appeared in many esteemed publications. She basically rules Twitter with her always interesting observations. She has a very clear, authoritative... Continue Reading →

Vulgar Things by Lee Rourke

After losing his job, and getting drunk, Jon Michaels finds out that his Uncle Rey has died and is persuaded to travel to Canvey and sort through Rey’s personal effects. Jon stays in his uncle’s caravan and discovers recordings, a telescope, letters - things that fracture everything he’d assumed about his life. Vulgar Things is... Continue Reading →

Into the Trees by Robert Williams

Into The Trees by Robert Williams When their apparently healthy baby won't stop crying and they have exhausted all the usual solutions, sleep deprived parents Thomas and Ann become desperate. By chance, Thomas discovers that if he takes Harriet into Bleasdale forest she calms. Raymond, a giant of a man who works as a farm... Continue Reading →

Vault by David Rose

Vault is a compact novel comprising brief chapters marked A or B. The A chapters pertain to a fictionalised version of the narrator of the B chapters. The B chapters are “factual” rebuttals of the novel. No wonder Vault’s subtitle is “An anti-novel”. It sounds complex, but the divisions are smartly done. B is written... Continue Reading →

Stoner by John Williams

Several weeks ago people began to come into the bookshop and ask for Stoner. We got so many requests we kept it by the counter within easy reach. Initially I figured the title referred to some marijuana puffing dude, a paean to slackerdom, but I was entirely wrong. Stoner is a novel originally published in 1965, recently reissued... Continue Reading →

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