If you’re the kind of person who flicks through a few pages of a book before you decide to buy it, then you might be put off by Max Porter’s “Lanny”. The way one of the character’s contributions are printed is, shall we say, a little ‘esoteric’; the font is variable, and the words bend… Read More “Lanny”

“The Nickel Boys”

Simply stunning. Having read “The Underground Railroad”, I confess to being a little reticent about deciding to read Colson Whitehead’s “The Nickel Boys”. I wasn’t sure that it would be quite ‘me’. Perhaps I was nervous that – as a white, middle class Brit – the book wouldn’t resonate with me, that I’d fail to… Read More “The Nickel Boys”

“The Offing”

I really liked Benjamin Myers’ “The Offing”. It’s a gentle, inoffensive coming-of-age tale; romantic with a small ‘r’. Like most things, “The Offing” is far from perfect: perhaps it tries a little too hard early on before it gets into the swing of itself; and most sixteen-year-olds simply wouldn’t have the nouse to do some… Read More “The Offing”

“The Human Stain”

There is a section toward the end of Philip Roth’s “The Human Stain” where one of the book’s characters, Ernestine, confronts the author/narrator about her life and the life of her family, African-Americans from New Jersey. What follows from Ernestine/Roth seems to me – a white, non-American – a brilliant and powerful exposé of racism,… Read More “The Human Stain”

“Memory Wall”

Although I first came across Anthony Doerr through his novel “All the Light We Cannot See”, if you wanted a more subtle introduction then his collection of short stories then “Memory Wall” wouldn’t be a bad place to start. The stories are engaging and well-written, and you somehow feel ‘safe’ in Doerr’s hands. The subject… Read More “Memory Wall”

“Rules of Civility”

There’s an interesting debate about cross-sex writing, isn’t there? It seems to me the popular wisdom is that a man can’t write as a woman, but a woman can write as a man. No. That’s too simplistic. Perhaps is should be qualified: it’s easier for a woman to write as a first-person male narrator than… Read More “Rules of Civility”

“The Journalist”

In many ways, Harry Matthews “The Journalist” is a remarkable achievement. Having said that, I suspect three-quarters of people who start to read the book may not make it all the way through to the end… “The Journalist” is not about someone who writes for newspapers or appears on television, but rather a man who… Read More “The Journalist”