Riverrun

Cover image

Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann (transl. Ross Benjamin): Telling truth to power

I’ve read all of Daniel Kehlmann’s translated novels, each very different from the others but all witty and smart. His last book, You Should Have Left, was a short, gothic number, both chilling and riveting. In comparison Tyll is a lengthy, historical novel set against the backdrop of the Thirty Years War which raged across …

Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann (transl. Ross Benjamin): Telling truth to power Read More »

Cover image

A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley: Sadly pertinent

First published in 1962 at the height of the Civil Rights movement, William Melvin Kelley’s A Different Drummer was championed earlier this year by the New Yorker who dubbed Kelley a ‘lost giant of American literature’. His novel is set in 1957 in an unnamed Southern state where the descendent of a slave performs an …

A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley: Sadly pertinent Read More »

Cover image

You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann (transl. Ross Benjamin): Short but not sweet

I’m a great fan of Daniel Kehlmann’s fiction which is why I was so keen to see his first play, The Mentor, premiered in my home town’s Ustinov Studio a couple of months ago. There I was all agog, tickets at the ready only to be too unwell to attend on the night but I …

You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann (transl. Ross Benjamin): Short but not sweet Read More »

Cover image

The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam: There isn’t one

This novel is unlikely to appeal to everyone although we should all read it. It’s about assisted suicide, one of the great moral dilemmas of the twenty-first century Western world where medicine has advanced in leaps and bounds but not the ethical framework for dealing with its unintended consequences. Steven Amsterdam’s sharp, funny novel explores …

The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam: There isn’t one Read More »