Cover image for Afterparties by Antonio Munoz Molina

Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So: ‘Generational Differences’ Cambodian-American style

I spotted Anthony Veasna So’s short story collection, Afterparties, on Twitter quite some time ago and was delighted when a copy dropped through my letterbox. Just as Souvankham Thammavongsa’s wonderful collection, How to Pronounce Knife, explored the experiences of the Laotian diaspora through its second generation, So’s is about young Cambodian-Americans whose parents and grandparents …

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Cover image for The Utopians by Anna Neima

The Utopians by Anna Neima: ‘Absurdity, possibility and hope’  

I became interested in utopian societies as an idealistic teenager when I learnt about Welsh philanthropist Robert Owen‘s experimental socialist community in New Harmony, Indiana. Then I read about the Whiteway Colony in Gloucestershire whose original owners burnt their deeds in the name of egalitarianism. Anna Neima’s The Utopians explores six such communities, their aspirations, …

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Cover image for The Echo Chamber by John Boyne

The Echo Chamber by John Boyne; ‘Cancelling the Cleverleys’

It took me some time to get around to reading a John Boyne novel probably because they tend to be chunksters rather than the pared-back novellas I favour. I took A Ladder to the Sky on holiday to Portugal then read and thoroughly enjoyed The Heart’s Invisible Furies. The Echo Chamber follows the Cleverleys, made …

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Cover image for Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson

Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson: Profit trumps all

It was Nickolas Butler’s ringing endorsement that sold Ash Davidson’s Damnation Spring to me. The cover suggested it might have the same gorgeous descriptions of the American landscape I’d loved in his Cowboy Lovesongs and Godspeed. Spanning a single year from 1977-78, Davidson’s tale of environmental despoilation is set in a small Californian community where …

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Cover image for What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez

Paperbacks to Look Out For in September 2021: Part Two

I failed miserably to find a link between titles for the first batch of September’s paperbacks but this one could be described as about relationships. I’ll begin with friendship and Sigrid Nunez’s What Are you Going Through which explores grief through a terminally ill woman who asks her friend to help her to die, promising …

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