Category Archives: fiction

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly (Orion)

How to write a best selling crime fiction novel Continue reading

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The honjin murders by Seishi Yokomizo (Pushkin)

“Before recording the strange history that follows, I felt I ought to take a look at the house where such a gruesome murder was committed.” THERE is a masterly, writerly opening to this classic Japanese crimo. Yokomizo introduces himself as … Continue reading

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Death on Gokumon Island by Seishi Yokomizo (Pushkin)

“Seventeen miles south of Kasaoka…is a tiny island, measuring barely five miles in circumference, its name is Gokumon-to, meaning Hell’s Gate Island.” GIVEN what Hollywood has done to terms like Hell’s Gate, I am not sure the English translation applies … Continue reading

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The Office of Gardens and Ponds by Didier Decoin (Maclehose Press)

“Following a long confinement and strict observance of the eating restrictions associated with bereavement….” A STRANGE lash up of old Japanese folklore with Gallic machismo teeters on the edge of being a fine read full of intriguing descriptions and sparkling … Continue reading

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The Trees by Percival Everett (Influx Press)

BY itself the cherry tree front cover and title Trees might suggest, visually at least, some rural Celtic saga of family strife, but the insides quickly disabuse that notion. We are in Mississippi noir territory, noir in the sense of … Continue reading

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The Secret Life of Writers by Guillaume Musso (Weidenfield & Nicolson)

“The wind was slapping at the sails in a dazzling sky.” THE opening quote is from Umberto Eco: ‘To survive, you must tell stories.” By half way through this page-turner thriller,  you may have counted six or is that seven … Continue reading

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Treacle Walker by Alan Garner (Fourth Estate)

“Ragbone! Ragbone! Any rags! Pots for rags.” THERE is a fair amount of subtext here, which you might, or might not, need. A little Latin may help. Alan Garner’s first work was published in 1963. He has been admired and … Continue reading

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Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan (Faber)

“In October there were yellow trees.” A SLIM slice of rural Ireland, from not so long ago. You might see this as an addendum to the bigger Irish politics covered in Fintan O’Toole’s We Don’t Know Ourselves. It is short, … Continue reading

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Heritage by Miguel Bonnefoy (Gallic)

“Lazare Lonsonier was reading in the bath when news of the outbreak of the First World War reached Chile.” A NEW novel from Bonnefoy! A treat. We are in Chile, imagine a large wood table, the aviary next door, tropical … Continue reading

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The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed (Penguin/Viking)

“The King is dead. Long live the Queen. The announcer’s voice crackles from the wireless and winds around the rapt patrons of Berlin’s Milk Bar, as sinuously as the fog curls around the mournful street lamps, their wan glow barely … Continue reading

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