When I say this is the kind of book literary magazines would call ‘quietly powerful’, I do not mean it in a kind way.
Set in mid-1970s New York City, City on Fire is a maximalist account of the lives of characters – interconnected to varying degrees – against the backdrop of a New Year’s Eve shooting in Central Park.
Irish Bitches reads half as a heartfelt training manual for future Irish mammies, and half as an extended off-colour Christmas dad joke.
For the most part, the stories show Smith at her best: a healthy fascination with double-entendres, misunderstandings, döppelgangers and distant lives meets smart, sophisticated and kind narration.
The Best Small Fictions 2015 is a collection of the best fiction – not stories – under 1,000 words. Pieces range from a couple of lines to those wrestling with the word count.
These stories are often melancholic, even dark, but on occasion, Dinosaurs on Other Planets surpasses such moods to create atmospheres of genuine terror.
Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 were the first published works by Haruki Murakami, and form the initial two parts of his Trilogy of the Rat, together with the better-known A Wild Sheep Chase.
In the end the novel manages to be both didactic and drifting, and, despite its boundless energy, is disappointing from a writer of Rushdie’s sensibility and imagination.
Outsider history can be a powerful weapon against colonial hegemony, but few accounts exist in the annals of Spanish conquests. We will never know much about the historical Estevancio/Mustafa, but Lalami’s compelling fictional history reminds us of the possibilities of redeeming history from those ‘who just by saying that something was so… believed that it was.’