“The Porpoise”

If you’re expecting ‘weird’ right off the bat because “The Porpoise” is written by Mark Haddon (the legacy, perhaps, of “The Curious Incident…”) then the beginning lulls you into something of a false sense of security. Okay, the subject matter is undeniably dark, but the beginning feels like a straightforward narrative. But when the story… Read More “The Porpoise”


If you asked me to find a single phrase to describe Juana Adcock’s “Split” I confess I would struggle. ‘It depends’ seems such a lame response… But it does. It depends, for example, on whether I’ve just read “The Task of the Translator” or “The Overburden”: one I liked, the second I did not. And… Read More “Split”

“Machines Like Me”

I confess to being slightly confused and ambivalent about Ian McEwan’s “Machines Like Me”. It seemed to vary between being good, and not so; between generating empathy for its characters, and then nothing at all. The only constant perhaps was my distaste for the android / synthetic human, Adam. But perhaps that was the point.… Read More “Machines Like Me”


Okay, it’s my own fault. I should have read it at University nearly forty years ago when I was supposed to. But I thought “Hey, more chance of understanding it now”. “Dreams” is from the Vintage ‘mini’ series and contains two of Freud’s most famous essays: “On Dreams” (1901) and “Typical Dreams” (from The Interpretation… Read More “Dreams”


Normally I would argue that a Booker Prize winning novel (or even finalist) would be a pretty decent yardstick for the oeuvre of an author, a good place to start. But having read “On Chesil Beach” and “Black Dogs”, I have to say Ian McEwan’s “Amsterdam” is far from that. Indeed, had I read “Amsterdam”… Read More “Amsterdam”

“Black Dogs”

Whether some elements of the central post-war event re-told at the end of Ian McEwan’s “Black Dogs” have any basis in reality is potentially irrelevant – and if you’ve read the book, you’ll probably have a good idea of the specific element I’m talking about! True or false, it doesn’t diminish the power of the… Read More “Black Dogs”

“Here We Are”

Ever since I read Graham Swift’s wonderful “Waterland” I’ve been completely hooked; his writing is something I can always reliably turn to. There are a few authors in that bracket for me – Murakami certainly, Julian Barnes, Donna Tartt, Swift himself – with a few others ‘coming up on the rails’: Ishiguro, Ali Smith, McEwan.… Read More “Here We Are”

“Paris Echo”

Considering all that he’s written, I find it somewhat remarkable that “Paris Echo” is the first Sebastian Faulks I have ever read. Was that a good place to start? I suspect I’ll never know. Without doubt, there is much about the book to admire, but the question I’m wrestling with at the end of it… Read More “Paris Echo”

Welshman – a reading

I have always wanted to read my short story “Welshman”. Written a while ago, it was published in 2017 in my collection of short stories “Secrets & Wisdom”. I hope you like it.

Sidings – a poem

Sidings   they arc from sight with bizarre elegance an overgrown divergence designated to home the unwanted or the forgotten   weeds climb rusting axles clogging memories of motion and birds flit in the eerie silence to reserve a first-class nesting site

“The Confession”

Having loved “The Miniaturist” and, off the back of that read “The Muse”, I confess to being profoundly disappointed by Jessie Burton’s latest, “The Confession”. So disappointed in fact, that I’ve given up on it after about 170 pages. I struggled with the tone, and – I hate to say – so much of it… Read More “The Confession”