Second World War

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The Light at the End of the Day by Eleanor Wasserberg: Portrait of the artist as a young girl

You might remember Eleanor Wasserberg’s debut, Foxlowe, which caught my attention on Twitter a few years back, although not enough for me to read it. Two things drew me to her second novel: first the art theme running through it, always a lure for me, and secondly its Krakow setting. The Light at the End …

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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 …

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Land of the Living by Georgina Harding: War and its aftermath reprised

A new Georgina Harding is always something to celebrate for me. I’m a great fan of her elegant yet lyrical writing and her quiet perceptiveness. Her last novel, The Gun Room, explored the legacy of war through a photographer and the unwelcome fame endured by one of his subjects. Land of the Living revisits the …

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Transcription by Kate Atkinson: ‘Can I Tempt You?’

Regular readers will know that I’m an ardent Kate Atkinson fan, always keen to put her novels at the front of any queue for literary prizes although more often than not left discombobulated by the judges’ seeming determination not to hand them over. Perhaps Transcription will buck that trend although it was conspicuous by its …

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Her Father’s Daughter by Marie Sizun (transl. Adriana Hunter): A sharply poignant gem

Although I’ve read several books published by Peirene – including the dazzling poetic White Hunger, set in a savagely cold Finnish winter – this is the first I’ve reviewed. For readers who haven’t yet come across them, Peirene publish novellas in translation, dubbed by the Times Literary Supplement ‘Two-hour books to be devoured in a …

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