“Galatea 2.2”

It was partly because I liked Richard Powers’ “The Overstory” so much that I tried as hard as I could to get through “Galatea 2.2” – but I simply couldn’t finish it, and gave up about a third of the way through. It has been a while since I last had to admit defeat like… Read More “Galatea 2.2”

“Songdogs”

Having already read three novels by Colum McCann, perhaps one of the best compliments I can pay “Songdogs” is to say that it simply doesn’t read like a debut novel. It is inevitable that in many first novels Authors are finding their feet, only growing into themselves and establishing their voice and presence as they… Read More “Songdogs”

“Summer”

The final instalment of Ali Smith’s quartet, “Summer”, is lorded on the front cover of my copy as ‘a tour de force’ – and for once the publishers are not wrong. In many ways “Summer” is an extraordinary achievement: stylistically inventive, politically astute and opinionated, accomplished in the depiction of character and relationships… Yes, it… Read More “Summer”

“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”