“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”

“Phone”

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

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?

“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”

“The Long Take”

Atmospheric. If we ignore the format for a moment, I have to say that Robin Robertson's "The Long Take" is tremendously atmospheric. It paints a picture of post-war America - and the brutality of the D-Day landings of WW2 - brilliantly, weaving the two within the darkness of a Veteran's internal struggles and the rebirth … Continue reading “The Long Take”

“An Infinity of Mirrors”

"An Infinity of Mirrors" is now published and available through your local bookshop (on order) and from on-line retailers such as Waterstones.com and Amazon. Don't be put off by any 'not in stock' messages; currently the book is printed on demand, so they can't have any in stock! "After the Rehearsals" and "Degrees of Separation" … Continue reading “An Infinity of Mirrors”

“The Heart’s Invisible Furies”

First thing to say is that there isn't anything wrong with the writing. But I gave John Boyne's book 200 pages and then had to give up. I'm afraid the subject / genre / style just wasn't for me. I was reminded of J.P.Donleavy's marvellously funny and bizarre books - which I loved and need … Continue reading “The Heart’s Invisible Furies”