Free e-book this week – last chance!

This week - Monday 30th March to Friday 3rd April - Amazon are giving away free Kindle copies of my collection of short stories, "Secrets & Wisdom". So today's the last day! Recently I read one of the stories from this volume, "Welshman" (see the link below). Now you have the chance to get the... Continue Reading →

“Tangling with the Epic”

Kwame Dawes and John Kinsella's "Tangling with the Epic" is probably, above all, 'clever'. It is a dialogue between the two comprised entirely of Spenserian stanzas, batted backwards and forwards across a literary net. It is clever in the sense of its formulaic execution, of sticking to the brief. But for me it is also... Continue Reading →

Free e-book this week!

This week - Monday 30th March to Friday 3rd April - Amazon are giving away free Kindle copies of my collection of short stories, "Secrets & Wisdom". Recently I read one of the stories from this volume, "Welshman" (see the link below). Now you have the chance to get the whole collection absolutely free! Partly... Continue Reading →

“On Chesil Beach”

There is a particular skill in taking a relatively small narrative episode and weaving an entire novel from it. In "On Chesil Beach" Ian McEwan displays such talents. The incident of the title - short, climactic, tense, complex, emotional - is perhaps the natural outcome of the story as it is laid before us. How... Continue Reading →

“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... Continue Reading →

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.

“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... Continue Reading →

“The Overstory”

Richard Powers' "The Overstory" is a quite exceptional book on many levels. Engaging, principled, well-written, intelligent; the narrative weaves it way through its pages like the roots of a tree - especially in the final section where the tendrils mix and merge and knit. It's obvious why it was shortlisted for the 2018 'Booker', and... Continue Reading →

“Footnotes to Water”

Zoë Skoulding's "Footnotes to Water" is somewhat obsessed with its subject. Water flows through the poems, washing inexorably over you in wave after wave. Which is fine, though a little more variety - if only to better demonstrate the poet's linguistic skill - might be nice. In many of the pieces I struggled with the... Continue Reading →

Published Today!

I am delighted to announce three new books for 2020, the first two of these released today, 1st February 2020! The third is published in a week's time. Liam is haunted by his age and the history it forces upon him. Yet he is also plagued by the need to make more - to generate... Continue Reading →

“Tale Tales and wee stories”

Many years ago the comedian Billy Connolly produced a brilliant TV series, "Billy Connolly's World Tour of Scotland". Many of the stories in "Tale Tales and wee stories" are replays of some of the material from that series, and at its best the book takes you back to those shows; you can picture Billy delivering... Continue Reading →


I really don't like not finishing reading a book once I've started, but sometimes I find that's the only way to move on. Unfortunately Charlotte Ansell's "Deluge" falls into that category. I've been dipping into it for many weeks now and am still only half-way through. It sits on a table by the sofa and... Continue Reading →


Some books don't travel well through time. They are of an era, an age. Perhaps those that do - Austen or Conrad, for example - are signs of greatness, of 'classic' literature. What, then, might one say about a book that has not travelled well, that is stylistically convoluted and at times feels remarkably self-indulgent?... Continue Reading →

“After Me Comes The Flood”

Sarah Perry can write. On the back cover of "After Me Comes The Flood" Sophie Hannah is quoted as saying "If she doesn't win the Booker Prize one day, I'll be amazed". I'm inclined to agree. There are perhaps some characteristics shared between the protagonists of "After Me" and her other two novels "Melmoth" and... Continue Reading →


I really like Mary Jean Chan's "Flèche" - even though, based on my track record of how I respond to a reasonably large proportion of modern verse, I shouldn't... Why is that? Two main reasons, both normally bête noires. The first is the significant experimentation in form (especially how the pieces appear on the page)... Continue Reading →

“The Order of the Day”

I confess to being uncertain as to what kind of book Éric Vuillard's "The Order of the Day" actually is... Although I found it on one of Waterstone's fiction tables, it relates events leading up to the Austrian Anschluss of 1938 and thus the foothills of the Second World War, and does so with what... Continue Reading →

“Before the coffee gets cold”

My occasional penchant for modern Japanese 'magic realism' novels is something of a double-edged sword. Why do I say that? Having read virtually everything Haruki Murakami has read, I find the bar for such novels is set pretty high, so when something like Toshikazu Kawaguchi's "Before the coffee gets cold" comes along, there is perhaps... Continue Reading →

“The Tradition”

The thing that struck me most about Jericho Brown's "The Tradition" was more generic than specific. As I struggled to get beneath the words, to find some kind of rhythm that appealed to me, a language I could interpret, I realised how much reading poetry - unlike prose, you could argue - is dependant on... Continue Reading →

“The Wall”

It's great when you choose to read a book from an author you have never previously encountered and end up wanting more. John Lanchester, whose novel "The Wall" found its way into my possession after a recent expedition to Waterstones, is such writer. Like Sarah Perry, Donna Tartt, John Ironmonger, Sebastian Barry and many recently... Continue Reading →

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