David Vann’s writing operates within a tradition of rural American writing notable in its refusal to po-facedly romanticise the rites and customs associated with the land.
Never as shocking or compelling as it would like to be, Marked Off is a rather perfunctory read, ticking all the boxes that have been ticked many times before.
These pieces show the act of remembering as brutally provocative.
John Berger is a writer predominantly concerned with that rather nebulous term: experience.
Segmented into smaller chapters, The Shore follows the plantation owners, Indian women, weather mages, and meth dealers over the course of 300 years.
Catherine Lacey’s debut novel, Nobody is Ever Missing, follows narrator Elyria’s abrupt departure from her stable but unhappy married life in New York to travel around New Zealand, a country with which she has only the most tenuous connection. It is compulsive reading.
The Buried Giant is Ishiguro’s first novel in ten years, and while its simple style shows no sign of its long gestation, the complex narrative reveals the time invested.
Satin Island Tom McCarthy [Jonathan Cape] This reviewer has been a fan of Tom McCarthy’s work since Remainder, a weird and deeply intelligent book about obsession and authenticity. Satin Island is McCarthy’s fourth novel, and in many ways it’s a distillation of the themes of Remainder. That is, it is read more…
The Vegetarian Han Kang [Portobello Books] In The Vegetarian Han Kang ruthlessly targets South Korea’s social codes, using the story of a simple, personal rebellion to expose a callous patriarchy. Yeoung-hye is the titular vegetarian. ‘Completely unremarkable in every way’, according to her salaryman husband, she one day announces her read more…
Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange Trans. Malcolm C. Lyons [Penguin] Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange is the first English translation of 18 medieval Arabic stories, taken from a ragged and damaged manuscript discovered in Istanbul. In his introduction, Robert Irwin explains that read more…
An Unnecessary Woman Rabih Alameddine [Grove Press] Early in An Unnecessary Woman, protagonist Aaliya Saleh excoriates contemporary writers for making her ‘feel inadequate because [her] life isn’t as clear and concise as [their] stories’. Rabih Alameddine’s fourth novel accompanies this solitary septuagenarian character through years of accordingly winding, and largely read more…
Bad Feminist Roxane Gay [Constable & Robinson] Internet Feminism exists in motion, in instant response to cultural ills, and for that reason is extremely difficult to condense into a book. But this is what Bad Feminist wants to do. Gay argues for a dynamic feminism, one which is inclusive, imperfect read more…
Dead Man Talking Roddy Doyle [Random House] Roddy Doyle has a history of involvement with literacy initiatives, as the co-founder of Fighting Words*, a creative writing centre for children in Dublin’s inner city. Inspired by 826 Valencia (a similar program founded by Dave Eggers in San Francisco), Fighting Words provides read more…
Sara Baume tells Totally Dublin about her debut novel Spill Simmer Falter Wither, a dreamy tale of rural isolation and canine companionship.
Sara Baume’s Spill Simmer Falter Wither is a profoundly moving and extremely impressive debut novel.
In many ways, The Pure Gold Baby could not differ more from the Sylvia Plath poem (Lady Lazarus) from which it derives its title.
Michel Faber masks his multifaceted new work The Book of Strange New Things as a straight-up sci-fi tale.
Donald Antrim’s first story collection, The Emerald Light in the Air, is, by turns, absurd, entertaining, and claustrophobically sad.
Miranda July makes odd arts and her first novel is not quite whimsical but it is strained.
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