Maclehose Press

Cover image for A Perfect Day to Be Alone by Nanae Aoyama

A Perfect Day to Be Alone by Nanae Aoyama (transl. Jesse Kirkwood): A poignant, funny coming-of-age story

Nanae Aoyama’s A Perfect Day to Be Alone is already a bestseller in several European countries, translated into German, French and Italian before Jesse Kirkwood’s English version. Spanning a year in which twenty-year-old Chizu lives with an elderly distant relative, it’s a quiet coming-of-age story. It turned out that when you put three people with […]

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Cover image for Nothing Belongs to You by Nathacha Appanah

Nothing Belongs to You by Nathacha Appanah (transl. Jeffrery Zuckerman): No denying the past

I remembered enjoying Nathacha Appanah’s beautifully crafted The Sky Above the Roof last year which prompted me to put up my hand when a proof of her new novel was offered. Nothing Belongs to You is about a young woman, recently widowed, who buried her traumatic past when she married the doctor who helped save

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Cover image for Canoes by Maylis de Kerangal

Canoes by Maylis de Kerangal (transl. Jessica Moore): Giving voice to women

I was keen to read Maylis de Kerangal’s Canoes as soon as I spotted it in the publishing schedules having very much enjoyed Painting Time. Comprising one novella and seven short stories, its overarching theme is women’s voices, either heard or in narrative. As ever, I’ll pick out my favourites beginning with Mustang, the novella,

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Cover image for Liminal by Liminal by Roland Schimmelpfennig

Liminal by Roland Schimmelpfennig (transl. Jamie Bulloch): An hallucinatory slice of Berlin noir

Roland Schimmelpfennig’s clever, smartly structured One Clear Ice-cold January Morning at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century was one of my books of 2018. Set in Berlin’s underworld, Liminal is very different but it also explores the darker side of modern Germany, following a cop whose life has been shattered by a tragic event. Sometimes,

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Cover image for German Fantasia by Philippe Claudel

German Fantasia by Philippe Claudel (transl. Julian Evans): The legacy of war

I’m always pleased to spot a new Philppe Claudel in the offing. I’ve read all his books available in translation from Parfums, a strikingly unusual scent memoir, to the achingly sad novella Monsieur Linh and His Child. All of them share a strong sense of humanity and a beauty of expression as does his new

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Cover image for The Sky Above the Roof by Nathacha Appanah

The Sky Above the Roof by Nathacha Appanah (transl. Geoffrey Strachan): ‘I’m nothing now but a boy from the shadows’

If you know more about French poetry than I do which, frankly, would not be difficult, you may well recognise the title of Nathacha Appanah’s The Sky Above the Roof as a reference to Paul Verlaine’s Le Ciel, written when he was in prison. Fortunately, Geoffrey Strachan’s translator’s note helped me out, setting the tone

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Cover image for Love in Five Acts by Daniela Krien

Love in Five Acts by Daniela Krien (transl. Jamie Bulloch): Take five women

I was delighted to spot Daniela Krien’s gorgeously jacketed Love in Five Acts in my Twitter timeline towards the end of last year. I’d read the haunting Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything back in 2015 which feels like an age ago now – pre-Brexit, pre-Trump and pre-pandemic. Born in the GDR, Krien was a

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Cover image for Kokoschka's Doll by Afonso Cruz

Kokoschka’s Doll by Afonso Cruz (transl. Rahul Bery): Stories within stories

I’d not heard of Afonso Cruz before Kokoschka’s Doll popped through my letterbox, probably because it’s the first of his novels in translation to be published by a relatively mainstream publisher. He turns out to be a prolific and versatile writer, much acclaimed in his native Portugal. Taking its name from the artist so distraught

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Cover image for Dog Island by Philippe Claudel

Dog Island by Philippe Claudel (transl. Euan Cameron): A twenty-first century morality tale

From Grey Souls, a novel about three murders set in First War France, to Parfums, his scent memoir, each book I’ve read by Philippe Claudel has been different from the others. What they have in common is a strong sense of humanity and all are beautifully expressed. Set on a tiny volcanic island in a

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