A review of A Regicide by Alain Robbe-Grillet

A Regicide For a novel written in 1947, half-heartedly revised in 1957 and finally published in France in 1978, A Regicide is a disconcertingly contemporary read. Moreover, it is possible to place your finger on exactly why this is so: Robbe-Grillet’s frequent descriptions of nature, of plants and insects and coastline, as fragile and precarious: that’s what strikes home. The island kingdom where an assassination (imagined? actual?) is played out is battened by tempests, beset by drought. Seasons are awry.

A review of Review of Odd Beauty, Strange Fruit by Susan Swartwout

From Louisiana to Honduras, Susan Swartwout covers much ground in her poetry collection, Odd Beauty, Strange Fruit. The collection is billed as a gothic take on Southern culture, and in some aspects it is, but there is more here than meets the eyes or first reading. The collection also tells a family’s history and the impact of this on the life of the individual who tells it.

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

The four novels making up the “Neapolitan” quartet follow the entwined lives of Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo Carracci, from elementary school in the 1950s to Lila’s disappearance at age sixty. The Story of the Lost Child, the fourth and final volume, presents Elena and Lila in mid-life, both back in their crime-ridden impoverished neighbourhood. Their friendship, never harmonious, continues to go up and down until a tragedy and a sad aftermath change things.

A Conversation with Jackie Copleton

The author of A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding talks about her new novel, about her interest in Nagasaki, about why she chose to explore this history through the lens of a family, about her research and what surprised her, about her novel’s structure, about the challenges of creating a character whose time and culture are so different, about the use of Japanese words, her title’s meaning, about how the lessons learned from that time resonate in our current political climate, and lots more.

A review of An Android Awakes by Mike French and Karl Brown

An Android Awakes is an entertaining, sexy, terrifying, and beautiful novel, full of bleakness and fun. While the book is probably not going to suit the prudish or faint-hearted reader looking for an easy read, other readers will enjoy the rich and powerful language, the complex plot lines, and the wacky and inventive landscape that both French and Brown have created in this superb graphical novel.

Interview with Megan Futcher

The author of Fourborn Wind and Fire – a new fantasy book series talks about her writing habits, her love for fantasy, ebooks vs print books, traditional vs indie publishing, her ‘real life’ inspirations, her technologies, themes, and lots more.

A review of The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Buried Giant is not an easy book. Its simple prose belies the complexity of the narrative, and the multiple layers of meaning as Ishiguro presents us with extremes that are equally unpalatable, and both of which could well be seen as the modern condition. At times, the fog is enough to engulf the reader, and the work seems to be as obscure in its meaning as the location of Beatrice and Axl’s son’s village.

A review of Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder

To my mind, this is a clear, convincing and rounded account of the Holocaust, the best we have had to date. Snyder makes telling use of Russian, Polish, and Ukrainian sources and he also pays meticulous attention to what the Nazis themselves wrote and said. The result is a context and a narrative in which – and, yes, it sounds almost immoral to say this – the Holocaust makes a kind of sense.