“The Kingdoms”

If you’ve read my previous reviews – all the way back into 2018! – you’ll know that I loved Natasha Pulley’s “The Watchmaker of Filigree Street” and “The Bedlam Stacks”. Sadly I can’t say the same of “The Kingdoms”. The beginning of the book is something of a confused muddle. I know the main character… Read More “The Kingdoms”

“Lean Fall Stand”

Jon McGregor is nothing if not inventive and challenging – and “Lean Fall Stand” is both of those things. Spoiler alert! The primary action of the novel (covered in the ‘Lean’ part of the story) concerns an ill-fated expedition in Antarctica. The rest of the novel – ‘Fall’ and ‘Stand’ – narrates the post-expedition experiences… Read More “Lean Fall Stand”

One little word…

The other day I read my short story “Park’n’Ride” at a local writing group. Someone whose opinion I respect described it as ‘brilliant’. It was – needless to say – a real boost! Of course it was also a demonstration of how subjective our appreciation of writing – or any art – is. “Park’n’Ride” has… Read More One little word…

Two New Podcast Episodes

I have just published two new episodes on my “Walking Thru’ Fire” podcast; both are short stories. “Downsizing” – sometimes short stories can surprise you, emerging not from specific ideas or experiences, but growing organically from seeds which you are later unable to identify or remember. “Downsizing” is one such story. It will be included… Read More Two New Podcast Episodes

“Klara and the Sun”

I was left strangely underwhelmed by Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Klara and the Sun”. It wasn’t the quality or style of Ishiguro’s writing (which to my mind has only failed to come up to scratch in “The Unconsoled”), nor in the inventiveness of the basic premise. I think I felt left down by the way the plot… Read More “Klara and the Sun”

New Podcast Episode

I have just added readings of a few selected poems from my collection First-Time Visions of Earth from Space to my podcast “Walking Thru Fire”. You can find this episode – and many others! – on Buzzsprout, and it should find its way onto other podcast platforms – such as Spotify, Audible, Amazon Music etc.… Read More New Podcast Episode

“The Field”

Often the challenge with ‘portmanteau’ novels such as Robert Seethaler’s “The Field” is one of maintaining a cohesive narrative thread throughout the work in order to prevent it from fragmenting into discrete and inadequately connected portraits. The premise behind “The Field” – the deceased, all buried in the same graveyard in a small European town,… Read More “The Field”

“The Angels of L19”

It is difficult to like Jonathan Walker’s “The Angels of L19” – in the sense of the novel giving you a warm, comfortable, fuzzy feeling – but impossible not to admire it. Without doubt it is a real pressure-cooker of a book: intense, unrelenting, dark, ominous, ambiguous, challenging. Perhaps the latter most of all. Not… Read More “The Angels of L19”

“The Kids”

Well, I couldn’t not read it… After all, a poetry book winning the Costa Book of the Year..! When did a poet last win?! (ans. ’99 & ’96 Seamus Heaney, ’98 & ’97 Ted Hughes) I needed to know what all the fuss was about. Well, there are some great poems in Hannah Lowe’s “The… Read More “The Kids”