Souvankham Thammavongsa

Cover image for The Liar's Dictionary by Eley Williams

Paperbacks to Look Out For in March 2021: Part Two

The second part of March’s paperback goodies starts with three books I’ve already read, two of which were favourites from last year, beginning with Eley Williams’ The Liar’s Dictionary in which a young woman, interning for the publisher of an unfinished encyclopaedic dictionary, fields the threatening phone calls made to its office with monotonous regularity. …

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How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa: ‘They’d had to begin all over again, as if the life they led before didn’t count’

It was that title that attracted me to this collection of stories about immigrants and refugees, cleverly exemplifying the many idiosyncratic challenges English throws at those for whom it’s a second language. Born in a refugee camp in Thailand, Laotian writer Souvankham Thammavongsa is a poet whose own facility for language is demonstrated throughout this …

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Books to Look Out For in April 2020: Part Two

This second instalment of potential April goodies begins with Kirstin Innes’ Scabby Queen which spans over half a century following the career of Clio Campbell who kills herself three days after her fifty-first birthday whereupon she becomes a posthumous heroine for our age. Taking in the miners’ strike, an anarchist squat, the Genoa G8 protests, …

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