Category Archives: fiction

Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber)

“Marianne amswers the door when Connell rings the bell.” BY coincidence I heard a radio broadcast where a well known doctor admitted to flunking out of Oxford because of an unhappy love affair and where the plot details do not … Continue reading

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The shepherd’s hut by Tim Winton (Picador)

“When I hit the bitumen and get that smooth grey rumble going under me everything’s hell different” THERE is a sticker on my edition proclaiming that this has been a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, which is a bit … Continue reading

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Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Jonathan Cape)

  “In 1945 our parents went away and left us in the care of two men who may have been criminals.”   I RECOMMEND that you do not read too many reviews of this brilliant contender for the Man Booker … Continue reading

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The president’s hat by Antoine Laurain (Gallic)

“Daniel Mercier went up the stairs at Gare Saint-Lazare as the crowd surged down.”   THE hat in question – and in the original French edition – belongs to president Francois Mitterand. It is probably just coincidence that two of … Continue reading

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The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain (Gallic)

“The taxi had dropped her on the corner of the boulevard.” This is very filmable – a French comedy of manners, of mores, of missing identities. A screen version might skip the rich literary (French) references but the compensation of … Continue reading

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Lincoln in the bardo by George Sanders (Bloomsbury)

“On our wedding day I was forty-six, she was eighteen.” The Bardo of the title is a Buddhist idea of a transitional state between life and death, a purgatory. I mention it because no one else bothers. There is a … Continue reading

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Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar (Gallic)

“Mama often talked of this house when I was a child, and of its squirrels with particular fondness.” WE are in the grand manner of the novel as literary artifice, a swell of sentences, characters in the rough, an anchored … Continue reading

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