“Apierogon”

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”

“Flights”

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”

“A Month in Siena”

Part-travelogue, part-art history, part-personal reflection, Hisham Matar’s “A Month in Siena” could easily be seen as something of an antidote if you have been reading too much fiction and are seeking something different just to break things up. Indeed, in a way that is how Matar sees his trip to Italy; an opportunity to fill-in… Read More “A Month in Siena”

“Ravelstein”

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”

“Seize the Day”

On one level it’s really difficult to ‘like’ Saul Bellow’s “Seize the Day”. This isn’t because the book is badly written – quite the opposite! – but rather because of Tommy Wilhelm, its main character. Bellow has succeeded in drawing for us a remarkable picture of a serial loser, one with whom it is difficult… Read More “Seize the Day”

“Portnoy’s Complaint”

Usually I really like Philip Roth’s work, but I’m afraid “Portnoy’s Complaint” didn’t quite hit the spot. Written as one huge monologue, the language used – relaxed, conversational – certainly fits the bill; and having been promised something explosively funny, there were undeniably ‘laugh out loud’ moments. Having said that, however, the book poses a… Read More “Portnoy’s Complaint”

Why you shouldn’t believe everything an Amazon page says about a book…

As a writer and Indie Publisher I am always grateful that my distributor and the Nielsen book registration service have direct feeds into major on-line retailers. This facility means that, as soon as a book is published, it usually appears on global websites within 24-48 hours. However, what appears is only as good as the… Read More Why you shouldn’t believe everything an Amazon page says about a book…

“About Grace”

I hesitated before deciding to read Anthony Doerr’s “About Grace”; the blurb on the back cover suggested a novel that explored some dark and difficult emotional territory. And it did. I expected pain, helplessness, a sense of loss – all of which the novel delivered. And some of it was beautifully rendered: Winkler’s panic early… Read More “About Grace”