Fiction Reviews

If you would prefer a searchable / sortable linear index for this category you can find one here

Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes (transl. Jamie Bulloch): Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler?

Adolf Hitler wakes up with a dreadful headache. He’s a little bemused to find himself lying in what seems to be a wasteland. He picks himself up and makes his way to a news kiosk where he’s astonished to find that it’s August 30th 2011. He’s at a loss to know what’s happened but the …

Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes (transl. Jamie Bulloch): Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler? Read More »

Cover image

The Last Boat Home by Dea Brøvig: Dark secrets in ’70s Norway

After the pyrotechnics of Siri Hustvedt’s new novel last week I felt in need of something a little less taxing, something engaging but not too challenging. Dea Brøvig’s The Last Boat Home looked a likely candidate. It’s a first novel set in a tiny community on the Norwegian coast. Two narrative strands alternate between the …

The Last Boat Home by Dea Brøvig: Dark secrets in ’70s Norway Read More »

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt: An astonishing piece of work

Where to start with Siri Hustvedt’s new novel? Perhaps with a warning that it’s not an easy read. If it’s good old linear narrative you’re after best look elsewhere. The Blazing World is made up of a collection of documents relating to Harriet Burden – interviews; written statements from her friend, her lover and her …

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt: An astonishing piece of work Read More »

Cover image

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill: A long time coming but well worth the wait

Dept. of Speculation is Jenny Offill’s second novel. Her first, Last Things, was published way back in 1999, so long ago that I confess I have no memory of it except that I know that it must have been good as it’s still on my shelves having survived the series of charity shop culls over …

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill: A long time coming but well worth the wait Read More »

Cover image

The Lives of Stella Bain by Anita Shreve: Commercial or literary fiction, and does it matter?

There’ve been a few exchanges in my booky little Twitter corner recently about commercial and literary fiction, how one is thought to be more worthy of serious attention than the other. I haven’t been joining in partly because I’m not sure what I think about it. I do know that my own reading would be …

The Lives of Stella Bain by Anita Shreve: Commercial or literary fiction, and does it matter? Read More »

The Snapper by Brian Kimberling and The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh

Last week was the first birthday of Tinder Press, an imprint of Headline publishers. I remember being excited by the first clutch of titles they published and thought them very canny in transferring Maggie O’Farrell from the Headline Review imprint to Tinder for their launch title, Instructions for a Heatwave. I think they’ve every reason …

The Snapper by Brian Kimberling and The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh Read More »

Cover image

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi: A fabulous tale of race and identity

When Helen Oyeyemi was supposed to be studying for her A-levels she was actually busy writing her first novel, published in 2005. I was the reviews editor for Waterstone’s Books Quarterly at the time and a quick skim of The Icarus Girl was enough for me to make it a lead review. I commissioned Lesley …

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi: A fabulous tale of race and identity Read More »

Cover image

The Tell-tale Heart by Jill Dawson: What happens when your heart is not your own

It’s just an organ – vital, of course – but it simply pumps blood around our circulatory systems in order that we can continue to live. If it weakens, we eventually die. Yet it’s become very much more than that in our lexicon of symbols – we speak from the heart, it’s recognised as the …

The Tell-tale Heart by Jill Dawson: What happens when your heart is not your own Read More »