Eggshells expresses a Joycean sense of the ordinary as extraordinary. A memorable debut, this novel is not about knowing, but about never assuming to know.
Emma Hooper’s debut novel opens with a letter from wife to husband: ‘Otto,’ writes Etta, ‘I’ve gone. I’ve never seen the water, so I’ve gone there.’
In accessible, anecdotal style, Davies sketches a comprehensive history of happiness promotion.
Fans will be glad that David was the one who put pen to paper, in a memoir as witty and unassuming as the best of Belle and Sebastian’s music.
Instead of preaching about the problems faced by the inhabitants of this marginalised world, Lish simply absorbs us in it. A sprawling, epic read.
In the fashion of Jean Rhys and Maeve Brennan, Bennett has a keen eye for beauty in the midst of loneliness, and there is incredible beauty here.
Welsh is an incredibly repetitive writer. The oddly decent character has corkscrew curls which are mentioned almost as frequently as female genitalia, although admittedly in less colourful terms.
Rather than dazzling with novelty, Wood scrutinises devastatingly simple ideas. He does the work of the novelist in making his reader examine these concepts anew through gorgeously accomplished, apt language.
If the past is a foreign country, then the present must be equally different for those unsuited to it. In Time Ages in a Hurry, the late Italian author Antonio Tabucchi presents us with nine stories of characters who have survived the tumults of 20th century Europe, only to find themselves lost in the present.
As the title suggests, Glass is someone who keenly feels the limitations of words, counting Beckett and Ginsberg among past collaborators. Maybe this is why the book comes packaged with a disc of Glass’s Etudes.
In her first novel, 1970’s The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison explores the maelstrom of societal forces that converge in a father’s rape of his own child. She returns to the subject of child abuse in God Help the Child, in which such cruelty seems to hide around every corner – in playgrounds, sunny afternoons, and even the alley behind one’s home.
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…
- @ 12:00 am Jan-1-1970