Atlantic Books

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Goodnight, Beautiful Women by Anna Noyes: The human condition, elegantly sketched

Having got over my lifelong antipathy to short stories I still find myself drawn more to the linked variety rather than collections of standalones. There’s something about spotting a character familiar from a previous story and wondering how they might develop. Anna Noyes’ debut collection seemed like it might fit that category and although it …

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Conrad and Eleanor by Jane Rogers: Absence makes the heart grow fonder

This is the second novel I’ve read in a year in which traditional gender roles are reversed within a marriage – Andrew Miller’s The Crossing saw Tim decide to stay at home and look after their child while Maud continues her work in clinical research – and I’ve since read a third, Sarah Moss’ superb …

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The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida: A smart, funny tale of identity and adventure

I noticed The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty being talked about recently on Twitter by someone whose taste I admire. The title seemed familiar and I wish I could tell you that it was because it’s from one of Rumi’s poems – revealed half-way through the novel – but I have to admit it was already …

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Himmler’s Cook by Franz-Olivier Giesbert (transl. by Anthea Bell): A romp through twentieth-century misery

Perhaps it’s because those of us in the privileged developed world are living longer – that and the advent of a new century – but there seems to be a little trend for novels written from the point of view of a centenarian bystander, someone who’s rubbed shoulders with those who’ve shaped our world for …

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Before, During, After by Richard Bausch: Acts of terror, both personal and political

The events of September 11th, 2001 have spawned scores of novels, some subtle – Paul Auster’s The Brooklyn Follies ends with the redemption of his main protagonist who walks out into the early morning of that bright, blue-skyed autumn day, full of hope – some not so much. Fourteen years later, it seems that this …

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The Confabulist by Steven Galloway: A very clever bit of business

You may remember Steven Galloway’s name from a few years back when The Cellist of Sarajevo was published. Beautifully written, it’s a poignant novel which offered readers a glimpse of the life under siege that we’d seen playing out surreally on our TV screens only a few years before. It became a massive bestseller, and …

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Ajax Penumbra 1969 by Robin Sloan: A tasty little titbit that leaves you hungry for more.

Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore was one of the most enjoyable books I read last year. Clichéd as it may sound it made me laugh, it made me cry and kept me thoroughly entertained while doing so. I’d been told there might be a spin-off but had forgotten all about it until a neat little hardback …

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