It would be a little disingenuous for me to say that I’ve no idea why I chose to read Anne Tyler’s “Redhead by the Side of the Road”. I chose it because the front cover boasted Booker long-listing; the back cover made it sound interesting; and it was on the ‘buy-one-get-one-half-price’ table at Waterstones. There.… Read More “Redhead by the Side of the Road”
Ocean Vuong’s novel, “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous”, pulls few punches. The subject matter almost demands it does not: homosexuality, the Vietnam war, being a post-war Vietnamese resident in the US, old age, love and death. Not a cocktail of subjects which lends itself to kid gloves perhaps. And given that cocktail, there could be… Read More “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous”
With the exception of a couple of short stints in Europe and the Far East, I have lived in the UK all my life. This is where my – extended – family lives, and is home to the vast majority of my friends and ex-work colleagues. Two weeks ago I published my latest novel, On… Read More Home is (not) where the sales are…
If you’re like me, there will be music you listen to which reflects your mood – particularly at the extremes. Right now The Cure’s “Galore” is blasting out of my stereo, one of my ‘go to’ albums when I’m in a really good mood. Today the weather’s great, I went for a run first thing,… Read More Music: the barometer of your Happy Place?
Whether conventional or not, I’d just like to recognise those people who have bought my latest novel, “On Parliament Hill”, in the last week. So, “Thank you”. It means a lot to me. When you don’t have some massive publishing behemoth behind you driving publicity, working with bookshops etc., your readers – inevitably in smaller… Read More Is it acceptable to say ‘Thank You’?
Kevin Barry’s “Night Boat to Tangier” is, in many ways, an exceptional book. The first thing that hits you is the style in which it is written: unconventional; short, punchy sentences; lacking much of the traditional format of a novel. To be honest, this can be off-putting. For example, initially I was annoyed by the… Read More “Night Boat to Tangier”
While I enjoyed Elif Shafak’s unique “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World”, I have to be upfront and say that I’m not sure how it made it to a Booker Prize shortlist. I couldn’t help but think that the conceit which provides the structure for the first part of the book – that… Read More “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World”
My latest novel, “On Parliament Hill“, has now been published! Her voice is a trigger; a voice which forces Neil to relive the crises and failures of his past – one which offers him the possibility of a positive new future. But before he can decide on what he wants the life ahead of him… Read More Published today! “On Parliament Hill”
I was getting tired of being spammed by people using my website’s Contact page to do so. Something had to be done. So I added a checkbox that needed to be ticked in order for the contact form to be successfully sent. I thought this might filter out any automated messaging – and maybe help… Read More Think you’re secure with a WordPress ‘Contact’ page?
My latest novel, “On Parliament Hill“, is published next Friday, the 21st! Her voice is a trigger; a voice which forces Neil to relive the crises and failures of his past – one which offers him the possibility of a positive new future. But before he can decide on what he wants the life ahead… Read More New novel, out next week!
The irony was inescapable, concluding the reading of Colum McCann’s tremendously inventive novel “Apierogon” just as Arab-Israeli violence and tensions escalate to what is perhaps another inevitable war. The irony is that in “Apierogon” McCann presents us with a sliver of hope as two men – one Palestinian, the other Israeli – work together to… Read More “Apierogon”
When I was contemplating this entry, it is surely telling that my primary concern was whether or not I should use the full title of Conrad’s novella. My instinct was to do so, but recognising that in these sensitive times certain words can be highly offensive and inflammatory, I have settled on an abridged version.… Read More Conrad’s “The…Narcissus”
Whatever you do, don’t start reading Olga Tokarczuk’s “Flights” expecting to encounter a conventional novel – because you won’t. It is a fragmented, meandering creation with dozens of vignette’s nestling against each other, sometimes in a logical progression – but mostly not. Some of these are as long as twelve or more pages, the majority… Read More “Flights”
There is something about Bellow’s first person narrator / observer which draws you into “Ravelstein”; it seems to me that you are both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ simultaneously. This elongated pen-picture of Ravelstein, laid out by his close friend Chick, is undoubtedly all sorts of things: colourful, expansive, amusing, ironic, submissive… Indeed, the list of adjectives… Read More “Ravelstein”
The third book in my free three-book promotion is now available on Amazon: “Secrets & Wisdom” – 11th to 15th March A collection of short stories.
The second book in my free three-book promotion is now available on Amazon: “Degrees of Separation” – 6th to 10th March This will be followed by “Secrets & Wisdom” – 11th to 15th March Both of these are collections of short stories.
You could be forgiven for wanting to stop reading Marlon James’ “John Crow’s Devil” fairly early on into the book. If so, it will be the Jamaican patois that will most likely get you. But my advice is to persevere. Try and get a ‘voice’ in your head against which you can process the language… Read More “John Crow’s Devil”
I have a free Kindle book promotion running over the next two weeks on Amazon: “At Maunston Quay” – 1st to 5th March “Degrees of Separation” – 6th to 10th March “Secrets & Wisdom” – 11th to 15th March
Olga Tokarczuk’s “Primeval and Other Times” is simply stunning; a plethora of literary squares woven together to make a quilt that lays bare what it means to be human. Unvarnished, all of life is here: the tragic, the mystical, the sad, the violent, the superstitious, the unavoidable. And – ultimately – the powerlessness. It seems… Read More “Primeval and Other Times”
I have to say that I’m not really sure how Sophie Ward’s “Love and Other Thought Experiments” made it to the 2020 Booker Prize longlist. Perhaps they were seduced by the surreal nature of the narrative, both its timeline and how it shifts through different versions of reality. Perhaps they were recognising the quality of… Read More “Love and Other Thought Experiments”