Picador Books

Cover image for The Utopians by Anna Neima

The Utopians by Anna Neima: ‘Absurdity, possibility and hope’  

I became interested in utopian societies as an idealistic teenager when I learnt about Welsh philanthropist Robert Owen‘s experimental socialist community in New Harmony, Indiana. Then I read about the Whiteway Colony in Gloucestershire whose original owners burnt their deeds in the name of egalitarianism. Anna Neima’s The Utopians explores six such communities, their aspirations, …

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Cover image for The Field by Robert Seethaler

The Field by Robert Seethaler (transl. Charlotte Collins: Giving voice to the dead

Back in 2015, I reviewed Robert Seethaler’s A Whole Life, a beautifully written novella about a man who’d barely left his mountain hamlet, revealing the richness of even the simplest of lives. The following year’s The Tobacconist, set in Vienna in the months before Hitler annexed Austria, was equally striking raising high hopes for his …

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Cover image for The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans

The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans: ‘The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past’

I’d not read anything by Danielle Evans before The Office of Historical Corrections turned up, although the title of her prize-winning, Before You Suffocate your Own Fool Self, had caught my eye. This second collection comprises seven stories, one lengthy enough to qualify as a novella, which explore racism in America and its complicated history. …

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Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart: ‘I’d do anything for you’

I’m not sure how much of Douglas Stuart’s debut is autobiographical but the first paragraph of his acknowledgements page suggests more than a smidgeon. Given that’s the page I often visit before reading a novel, Shuggie Bain was even more poignant for me than it would otherwise have been. Set in ’80s Glasgow, Stuart’s book …

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Writers & Lovers by Lilly King: A novel to slip into and forget the world

I remember enjoying Lily King’s Father of the Rain very much but the bestselling Euphoria, based on a brief episode in the life of Margaret Mead, didn’t appeal. King’s name stayed with me as one to look out for and when I saw Writers & Lovers described as ‘gorgeous’ by the splendid Elizabeth Strout I …

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The Hiding Game by Naomi Wood: Love, jealousy and betrayal in the Bauhaus

Naomi Wood’s The Hiding Game has been on my radar since I discovered it was about the Bauhaus, the German art school whose designs I’ve long admired. It’s one of a multitude of books published to celebrate the movement’s centenary this year. I still have my eye on Theresia Enzensberger’s Blueprint which looks promising but …

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