British Fiction

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The Blind Light by Stuart Evers: A tale of two families and a country

Regular visitors may have noticed that I’m much more of a novella than a chunkster kind of reader, favouring concision over what so often turns into waffle, but I was attracted to Stuart Evers’ The Blind Light by its premise despite its 540+ pages. Spanning six decades, Evers’ novel tells the story of post-war Britain …

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Blasts from the Past: The Leper’s Companions by Julia Blackburn (1999)

This is the latest in a series of occasional posts featuring books I read years ago about which I was wildly enthusiastic at the time, wanting to press a copy into as many hands as I could. I can’t remember how I came across Julia Blackburn’s gorgeously poetic novel. I’d left bookselling and wasn’t yet …

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A Theatre for Dreamers by Polly Samson: Trouble in paradise

I’d enjoyed all three books by Polly Samson I’d read before A Theatre for Dreamers arrived, including her cleverly linked collection of short stories, Perfect Lives. I reviewed her last novel, The Kindness, here back in 2015 which feels like an age ago now. She writes the kind of absorbing, character-driven fiction that can offer …

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Your Fault by Andrew Cowan: A boy’s life

Four things attracted me to Andrew Cowan’s Your Fault: its working class, ‘60s setting; its unusual structure; its length and its publisher, Salt Publishing whose list is never anything but interesting. Set in one of those new towns beloved by British town planners of the mid-twentieth century, Cowan’s novella has fifty-five-year-old Peter tell his story …

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Land of the Living by Georgina Harding: War and its aftermath reprised

A new Georgina Harding is always something to celebrate for me. I’m a great fan of her elegant yet lyrical writing and her quiet perceptiveness. Her last novel, The Gun Room, explored the legacy of war through a photographer and the unwelcome fame endured by one of his subjects. Land of the Living revisits the …

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Melmoth by Sarah Perry: A proper piece of Gothic for our times

If you’re a frequenter of my neck of the Twitter woods, I’d be surprised if you’d not come across Sarah Perry’s third novel well before it was published. Her publishers have been trailing it for months, ramping up an anticipation that was already well primed for many of us who enjoyed both her debut, After …

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