British contemporary fiction

The Mission House by Carys Davies

The Mission House by Carys Davies: ‘Both strange and familiar’

Carys Davies’ name will be known to many readers, I’m sure. Her elegantly slim debut, West, was much acclaimed when it was published in 2018. The story of a man so obsessed by reports of ancient bones found in a Kentucky swamp that he leaves his young daughter to fend for herself, it’s very different …

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Cover image for The Liar's Dictionary by Eley Williams

The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams: ’The action of telling lies in an artful way’

I remember Eley Williams’ collection of short stories, Attrib, being garlanded with praise from all sorts of people whose opinions I trust back in 2017 when it was published. I’ve no idea why I didn’t get around to reading it, being well over my short story aversion by then, particularly as its themes seem to …

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The Golden Rule by Amanda Craig: ‘Do as you would be done by’

Amanda Craig’s The Golden Rule is the latest in a series of loosely interconnected novels which explore the state of my particular nation. I’m a sucker for this kind of fiction and have enjoyed several of Craig’s contributions to it including The Lie of the Land, a Brexit novel that, for me, was very much …

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Cover image for The Seduction by Joanna Briscoe

The Seduction by Joanna Briscoe: Manipulation, obsession and dark secrets

Many years ago, I was commissioned to write a reading guide for Joanna Briscoe’s Sleep with Me. Its perceptive exploration of desire and manipulation in a three-cornered relationship read like a modern take on Simone de Beauvoir’s She Came to Stay but with the page-turning pace of a thriller. I loved it. Hopes were high …

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Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth: Growing Up is Hard to Do

Despite very much enjoying Emma Jane Unsworth’s Hungry the Stars and Everything almost four years ago, I still haven’t got around to reading Animals. It’s been quite some time since that was published but I’d be surprised if fans don’t think Adults was worth the wait. It’s the story of Jenny, fast approaching middle-age, who’s …

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