Category Archives: fiction

The Testament by Margaret Atwood (Chatto & Windus)

“Only dead people are allowed to have statues, bit I have been given one while still alive. Already I am petrified.” THAT is, perhaps, one of the finest opening lines to a novel I have read, defining, coy, a come … Continue reading

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Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor (Harvill Secker)

My dearest Ellen, Please excuse this too-long-delayed response JOSEPH, how nice to see you again. Another tome, lovely. A pleasure, I am sure. A treat even. Back in the Ghost Light territory are we? I never connected that Bram Stoker … Continue reading

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Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain (Gallic)

“It happened in the middle of a brightly moonlight night in the Beaujolais vineyards.” ANTOINE Laurain writes the kind of stories that do not seem to get published in Britain – a plot, a gaggle of characters, mostly quite likable … Continue reading

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Spring by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)

“Now what we don’t want is Facts” THE first two of this potential quartet – Autumn and Winter –  were pleasant if not totally convincing as the contemporary novel of weight and import. This on the other hand opens with … Continue reading

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The elegance of the hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (Gallic)

“Marx has completely changed the way I view the world,” declared the Pallieres boy this morning, although ordinarily he says nary a word to me.” PERHAPS it is just my personal taste, but it seems as if a new form … Continue reading

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Milkman by Anna Burns (Faber)

“The day Somebody McSomebody put a gun to my breast and called me a cat and threatened to shoot me was the same day the milkman died.” THE prose is wonderfully joyful and rambling. The Guardian refers to this winner … Continue reading

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How’s the pain? by Pascal Garnier (Gallic)

“The sound coming from somewhere in the darkness was barekly audible, but it was enough…   I AM unsure about the title, douleur can be translated as pain, but it also implies grief, soreness, aching, distress and misery as in … Continue reading

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