“The Sparsholt Affair”

I tried to plug on to the end of Alan Hollinghurst's "The Sparsholt Affair" to see if anything happened. It didn't. Just page after page of young men lusting after other young men, interspersed with middle-aged men disappearing stage left with other middle-aged men. You get the picture... I gave up after 180 pages. Was … Continue reading “The Sparsholt Affair”

“Nowhere Nearer”

Even if a small percentage of the poems in Alice Miller's "Nowhere Nearer" didn't quite come off (for me at least), overall I really liked this compact little volume. It has a style and voice that resonates with me. I guess that's one of the unique things about poetry; not just its ability to speak … Continue reading “Nowhere Nearer”

“House of Names”

You don't need to be familiar with Aeschylus, Sophocles or Euripides to enjoy Colm Tóibín's "House of Names" - though I suspect it might help a little to have a sense of the original story. Having recently watched the BBC's dramatisation, "Troy", I was familiar with the story of Agamemnon, Clytemnestra and Iphigenia at least. … Continue reading “House of Names”


Tricky one... The first few dozen pages - and certainly the first twenty or so - are not typical of the whole of Will Self's "Phone" (though they do set the tone). They are a bit like trying to find your face in a mirror that has been smashed on the floor. Almost impossible. I … Continue reading “Phone”

A small tribute to Philip Roth

First, a confession. I have read only one Philip Roth novel: "American Pastoral". I can't remember when I read it; presumably not that recently otherwise I would have included it on my 'Reading' page and written a little review, outlining my thoughts. What would I have said? It doesn't really matter. Over the last two … Continue reading A small tribute to Philip Roth


Camouflaged by the city, men on mopeds sheathed in helmets and the immature roar of under-powered engines, keep their dialogue to themselves.   With no idea we are being watched there is no vulnerability, no fear that we are profoundly exposed.   Strangers measure us through lenses we never see, our casual movements recorded and … Continue reading Threat

What Next?

Having been so focused for the last six months on getting my most recent books completed, edited and published, I'm suddenly hit by 'the void'. OK, it's my own fault for not spreading the work out to ensure I always had a blend of writing whilst editing whilst preparing for publication - but I didn't. … Continue reading What Next?

New titles now published!

Coverstory books is pleased to be able to announce the following title: "An Infinity of Mirrors" - publication date, 1st May 2018 Given his profession as a Historian, it was inevitable that Mark would find himself one day writing the biography of his late father, the acclaimed author Charles Packard. As his biographer, Mark is … Continue reading New titles now published!

“Exit West”

Usually, if my opinion about a book changes as I read it, it tends to go from 'not sure' to 'hey, this is actually really good!'. Mohsin Hamid's "Exit West" was exactly the opposite. If I'd stopped about half way through and been asked to rate it at that point, 4 stars, no issue. But … Continue reading “Exit West”

Global Warning

Global Warning   Shallow pools of meltwater reflect high summer sun in the empty immensity glazing the top of our world.   Winds and currents conspire   to   generate     imperceptible       drifts,    journeys      that        will          last            years.   And as the … Continue reading Global Warning