Japan

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Fracture by Andrés Neuman (transl. Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia: ’The art of mending cracks without secrecy’

Part of my attraction to Fracture was its jacket which seemed to fit the title so beautifully. Andrés Neuman’s novel is largely set in Japan and, thanks to BBC4’s excellent series of documentaries about Japanese culture, I knew about the practice of kintsugi: repairing broken porcelain emphasising the cracks rather than disguising them as we …

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The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann (transl. Jen Calleja): To the north

This is the third novel I’ve read from this year’s Man Booker International Prize longlist. The other two are Hubert Mingarelli’s Four Soldiers, beautifully translated by Sam Taylor, which didn’t make it onto the shortlist, and Olga Tokarczuk’s quirky Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of The Dead, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, which did alongside …

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The Gun Room by Georgina Harding: The inescapable shadow of war

I’ve been an admirer of Georgina Harding’s writing since reading  her debut with its poetically beautiful descriptive passages. Each of her four novels is very different from the other although three share the theme of the aftermath of war. Set in 1616 The Solitude of Thomas Cave took us to the Arctic where one man …

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Signs for Lost Children by Sarah Moss: What Ally and Tom did next

Sarah Moss’s excellent Bodies of Light appeared on the Wellcome Trust Book Prize shortlist for its theme of nineteenth century women in medicine earlier this year. Signs for Lost Children is its sequel, picking up Ally and Tom’s story from where Bodies of Light left off. Newly married, they face separation as Ally practices as a …

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