Fiction

Cover image

The Course of Love by Alain de Botton: Never did run smooth

Alain de Botton’s first novel, Essays in Love, was published when he was a mere stripling of twenty-three. Since then he’s written essays about travel, architecture and literature returning to love for his second novel two decades after his first. I’ve long been a fan of his gentle, humane writing. The Pleasures and Sorrows of …

The Course of Love by Alain de Botton: Never did run smooth Read More »

Cover image

The Seed Collectors by Scarlett Thomas: Bursting with ideas

The Seed Collectors is Scarlett Thomas’s first novel for quite some time. Her idiosyncratic books, several of which flirt with science fiction, seem to attract a passionate following. I’d read only two before this one: The End of Mr Y, about a PhD student’s encounter with a rare edition of a nineteenth-century writer’s book, wandered …

The Seed Collectors by Scarlett Thomas: Bursting with ideas Read More »

Beneath the Neon Egg by Thomas E. Kennedy: A Scandi novel written by an American

I’ve been meaning to read Thomas E. Kennedy’s Copenhagen Quartet for some time and was sent a copy of the final instalment recently. This might seem an odd place to start a series but I’d been assured that all the novels stand alone, as indeed this one did although I am left wondering if I’ve …

Beneath the Neon Egg by Thomas E. Kennedy: A Scandi novel written by an American Read More »

Cover image

All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu: A Novel of Love, Friendship and Identity

I’ve been circling around this book for a while now. I’d read and been impressed by Dinaw Mengestu’s beautifully understated first novel, Children of the Revolution, which won him the Guardian First Book Award, but had found How to Read Air disappointing. Perhaps it was a case of too-high expectations. Anyway, after reading Monique Roffey’s …

All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu: A Novel of Love, Friendship and Identity Read More »

Cover image

After Me Comes the Flood by Sarah Perry: Which turns out to be not quite what I was expecting

It was partly the setting that attracted me to Sarah Perry’s first novel – I love Norfolk’s huge sky and lovely coastline – but the blurb was enticing, too, and I don’t say that very often. A middle-aged man exhausted by the seemingly endless heat wave that’s hit London shuts up shop and heads off …

After Me Comes the Flood by Sarah Perry: Which turns out to be not quite what I was expecting Read More »