Fiction Reviews

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Twelve Nights by Urs Faes (transl. Jamie Lee Searle): Christmas is coming…

Given my bah humbug attitude, readers are unlikely to have expected a Christmas read from me but I couldn’t resist a literary trip to the snow-covered German landscape with Urs Faes’ Twelve Nights, set not far from the Black Forest. Beginning just before Christmas, Faes’ brief novella tells the story of Manfred who’s returned home …

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Cover for Nightingale by Marain Kemp

Nightingale by Marina Kemp: Secrets and lies in rural France

Marina Kemp’s Nightingale is the second of the five titles shortlisted for the Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year award I’ve chosen to review, both of which I’d planned to read before the judges picked them. In contrast to Naoise Dolan’s sharp, urban Exciting Times peopled with transients, Nightingale takes its time …

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There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura (transl. Polly Barton): Giving it your all

I’ve often wondered why more fiction isn’t about work given how much of our lives most of us spend doing it which is what drew me to Kikuko Tsumura’s There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job, her first novel to be published here in the UK. Having experienced harassment in her first job, Tsumura …

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Cover image for The Forgers by Bradford Morrow

The Forgers by Bradford Morrow: ‘It takes a lot of truth to tell a lie’

Readers blessed with excellent memories may recall I mentioned Bradford Morrow’s The Forger’s Daughter in a November preview. I put up my hand but for some reason wasn’t sent a copy then I noticed its precursor on NetGalley. Not my favourite way to read but by this time I was all primed and ready for …

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Cover image for Dog Island by Philippe Claudel

Dog Island by Philippe Claudel (transl. Euan Cameron): A twenty-first century morality tale

From Grey Souls, a novel about three murders set in First War France, to Parfums, his scent memoir, each book I’ve read by Philippe Claudel has been different from the others. What they have in common is a strong sense of humanity and all are beautifully expressed. Set on a tiny volcanic island in a …

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Cover image for The Invisible Land by Hubert Mingarelli

The Invisible Land by Hubert Mingarelli (transl. Sam Taylor): The devastation of war

Hubert Mingarelli’s The Invisible Land comes billed as the final part of a trilogy linked by the theme of war. I’ve read and reviewed both A Meal in Winter and Four Soldiers, struck by Mingarelli’s exquisite writing, not a description I’d expect to spring to mind when reading about the grimmest of subjects. This third, …

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