Maclehose Press

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 …

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

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 …

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

Cover image for Freetown by Otto de Kat

Freetown by Otto de Kat (transl. Laura Watkinson): Chasing the past

When I spotted Freetown in the schedules, I put up my hand straight away. I’d come across Otto de Kat’s name several times, registering that he was probably an author whose writing would appeal, but somehow never getting around to reading anything by him. This beautiful, contemplative novella explores the lives and memories of Maria …

Freetown by Otto de Kat (transl. Laura Watkinson): Chasing the past Read More »

Cover image

Songs for the Flames by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (transl. Anne MacLean): Stories within stories

Given that Juan Gabriel Vásquez has not only won the prestigious International Dublin Literary Award but has also been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, together with his translator Anne MacLean, I feel I really should have read something by him before now. Songs for the Flames is his first short story collection for …

Songs for the Flames by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (transl. Anne MacLean): Stories within stories Read More »

Cover image for To Cook a Bear by Mikael Niemi

To Cook a Bear by Mikael Niemi (transl Deborah Bragen-Turner): To the North…

Mikael Niemi’s To Cook a Bear was one of those books I dithered about, historical crime fiction not really being my kind of thing, but a combination of the publisher – Maclehose Press whose books are reliably good – and its Swedish setting persuaded me to take the plunge. Set in the far north, Niemi’s …

To Cook a Bear by Mikael Niemi (transl Deborah Bragen-Turner): To the North… Read More »

Cover image

The Hungry and the Fat by Timur Vermes (transl. Jamie Bulloch): Marching to Fortress Europe

Timur Vermes is clearly not a man to shy away from controversy. His sharp, very funny satire, Look Who’s Back, nailed the internet’s potential for political manipulation with admirable, if unsettling, prescience when Hitler wakes up with a bad headache in 2011 and quickly becomes a YouTube star. The Hungry and the Fat takes on …

The Hungry and the Fat by Timur Vermes (transl. Jamie Bulloch): Marching to Fortress Europe Read More »

Cover image

Abigail by Magda Szabó (transl. Len Rix): Coming of age in 1940s Hungary

I’ve yet to read Magda Szabó’s The Door despite having enjoyed both Katalin Street and Iza’s Ballad. Abigail is very different from either of those, not least in its length, but it comes billed as the most popular of her novels in her native Hungary. Set in a girls’ boarding school, it’s about Gina whose …

Abigail by Magda Szabó (transl. Len Rix): Coming of age in 1940s Hungary Read More »

Cover image

The Cheffe by Marie NDiaye (transl. Jordan Stump): A culinary enigma

Several things attracted me to Marie NDiaye’s The Cheffe: I’ve a weakness for novels about food, given its author and subject I expected a healthy streak of feminism and there was the promise of an unreliable narrator. My liking for those may be even greater than my predilection for foodie fiction. NDiyae’s novel is the …

The Cheffe by Marie NDiaye (transl. Jordan Stump): A culinary enigma Read More »

Cover image

All Things Consoled by Elizabeth Hay: Families and how to survive them

I was initially attracted to Elizabeth Hay’s memoir for the same reason I read Ann Patchett’s This is the Story of a Happy Marriage: I’d enjoyed several of her novels very much, in particular Late Nights on Air. Truth be told, though, aren’t we all fascinated by other people’s families, perhaps looking for similarities with …

All Things Consoled by Elizabeth Hay: Families and how to survive them Read More »

Cover image

Katalin Street by Madga Szabó (transl. Len Rix): The past is another country

I’ve yet to read The Door, Madga Szabó’s best known novel, and I made the mistake of reading Iza’s Ballad on holiday, failing to give it the quiet attention it needed. Nothing to distract me from Katalin Street, enjoyable or otherwise. First published in 1969, it explores the aftermath of the Second World War through …

Katalin Street by Madga Szabó (transl. Len Rix): The past is another country Read More »