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The Words of Every Song by Liz Moore: Living the dream, or perhaps not

Way back in 2012, I read Liz Moore’s second novel, Heft, which I remember enjoying although, so many books having passed under the bridge since then, not much else. When I spotted The Words of Every Song in the schedules I hadn’t realised it was her debut, attracted by its New York music scene setting. …

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Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship

Regular readers will know that I’m not one for words like ‘charming’ and ‘delightful’ – smacks too much of tweeness for me – but when I read the pitch for Isabel Vincent’s Dinner with Edward, they immediately popped into my head. Another one was ‘Christmas’, but that’s the old bookseller in me. Vincent’s book tells …

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Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler: Dangerous liasons in the kitchen

Sweetbitter is one of those books that turned out to be very much better than I expected. Its blurb reminded me a little of Merrit Tierce’s viscerally intense, short, sharp Love Me Back with its restaurant backdrop,  the location changed from Texas to New York. I knew I’d probably read it but Tierce’s book had …

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The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney: Families and how to survive them

Cynthia D’Arprix Sweeney’s debut is one of those novels that lots of people have been jumping up and down about, eagerly anticipating its publication: I’ve been one of them. Usually that kind of thing makes me put on my sceptical hat but with the promise of a dysfunctional family – a favourite literary trope which …

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The Lonely City by Olivia Laing: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

I was attracted to Olivia Laing’s new book partly because of its setting – that old New York lure – partly because I’d enjoyed her exploration of the relationship between writers and drink, The Trip to Echo Spring. In The Lonely City she explores loneliness through the work of four artists – Edward Hopper, David …

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A Fortunate Age by Joanna Rakoff: A enjoyable literary soap opera

I thoroughly enjoyed My Salinger Year, Joanna Rakoff’s memoir of her time as a literary agent’s assistant, and was pleased to hear that her novel was to be published in the UK. It’s been available in the States for a few years although its reception seems to have been somewhat mixed. I’d also heard that …

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The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein: An endearing bit of eccentricity

I’m a sucker for anything Scandi these days – I blame BBC4 – which is why I was attracted to Rebecca Dinerstein’s idiosyncratic first novel. I wasn’t at all sure about it at first – I thought it might be a little too whimsical and that cover is enough to send me scrabbling for something …

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