Cover image for To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss

To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss: Men, women and the tensions in between

Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love was one of those novels you couldn’t get away from when it was published here in the UK back in 2006. I loved it. Since then I’ve read several novels by Krauss but none have quite matched it for me, including the smartly clever Forest Dark. That didn’t deter …

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Five Norwegian Novels I’ve Read

If your only acquaintance with Scandinavian novels is a cursory glance at the British bestseller lists, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the entire region turns out nothing but crime fiction. I’m here to tell you that there’s more to Scandi fiction than murder around every corner beginning with five Norwegian novels free of blood …

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Cover image for London Under Snow by Jordi llavina

London under Snow by Jordi Llavina (transl. Douglas Suttle): Wintery Catalonian tales

Recently launched, Fum D’Estampa Press is a small publisher dedicated to introducing Catalonian literature to English-speaking readers. A little niche you might think but if Jordi Llavina’s London Under Snow is anything to go by, worth seeking out. I was attracted to Llavina’s collection partly thanks to enjoying a short story roll after reading Dierdre …

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Cover image for The Pear Field by Nana Ekvtimishvili

The Pear Field by Nana Ekvtimishvili (transl. Elizabeth Heighway): Not the best days of your life

I’ve learned not to expect a cheery read from Peirene Press. The closest I’ve got is Guđmundur Andri Thorsson’s And the Wind Sees All. I know that what I will get is an insight into a country and its culture, often one that I may never visit and even if I did, might see only …

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Cover image for Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout

Paperbacks to Look Out for in November 2020

Slim pickings for November’s paperbacks with just five that stand out for me, two of which I’ve already read. I’ll begin with one of my favourite books from last year which saw the return of the irascible yet essentially warm-hearted Olive Kitteridge, familiar to fans of Elizabeth Strout’s eponymous Pulitzer Prize-winning book published in 2008. …

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Cover image for Freetown by Otto de Kat

Freetown by Otto de Kat (transl. Laura Watkinson): Chasing the past

When I spotted Freetown in the schedules, I put up my hand straight away. I’d come across Otto de Kat’s name several times, registering that he was probably an author whose writing would appeal, but somehow never getting around to reading anything by him. This beautiful, contemplative novella explores the lives and memories of Maria …

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Songs for the Flames by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (transl. Anne MacLean): Stories within stories

Given that Juan Gabriel Vásquez has not only won the prestigious International Dublin Literary Award but has also been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, together with his translator Anne MacLean, I feel I really should have read something by him before now. Songs for the Flames is his first short story collection for …

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