tue 29/09/2020

fiction

Ottessa Moshfegh: Death in Her Hands review - a case of murder mind

Death in Her Hands was a forgotten manuscript, the product of a series of daily automatic writing exercises performed by Ottessa Moshfegh in 2015 and then set aside to marinade in a desk drawer while the world fell apart. Moshfegh’s characters “zoom...

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Matthew Sperling: Viral review - whip-smart satire about the void at the heart of tech

Strange, that novels like this, which seem to have their finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist, already have a tinge of sepia about them. Set in a bustling east Berlin, this sharply plotted tale of start-up bliss and blunder, then bliss again, sees...

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Naomi Booth: Exit Management review - unwrapping life's unpleasantness

When you try to get rid of something, it comes back to bite you – so says Naomi Booth in her new novel Exit Management. It’s one of those books that you want to read very quickly, its writing slickly modern and its characters compellingly flawed....

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Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai: The Mountains Sing review - a lyrical account of Việt Nam’s brutal past

“The challenges of the Vietnamese people throughout history are as tall as the tallest mountains. If you stand too close, you won’t be able to see their peaks. Once you step away from the currents of life, you will have the full view…” This is the...

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Zalika Reid-Benta: Frying Plantain review - tales of growing up young, black and female in Toronto

It is as unsurprising as it is vital that a spotlight has been thrown on writing by people of colour this year. It is unsurprising, too – looking at bestseller lists on both sides of the Atlantic since June – that most of that light is being shed on...

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Matt Haig: The Midnight Library review - an uplifting modern parable

TW: This article discusses suicide, suicidal ideation, antidepressants and self-harm We first meet Nora Seed, “nineteen years before she decides to die”, as she plays chess in the school library with Mrs Elm, the matter-of-fact school librarian...

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Hiromi Kawakami: People From My Neighbourhood review - deft and feather-light

Deft and funny prose, in a feather-light translation by Ted Goossen, is the signature of Hiromi Kawakami's latest collection People From My Neighbourhood, a series of surreal and playful short stories offering a glimpse at the most curious and...

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theartsdesk Q&A: author Jorge Consiglio

Fate: commonly understood to mean the opposite of chance or, more narrowly speaking, a theological concept. Often synonymous with predetermination – an idea which might be used to justify a set of unfortunate or fortuitous events, whether you are...

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Bette Howland: Blue in Chicago review – the city on trial, with the writer as witness

You feel at times, while reading the collection Blue in Chicago, that Bette Howland might have missed her vocation. In another life, Howland – until recently almost completely lost to literary history – could have made a name for herself as a...

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The Luminaries, BBC One review - one of the most visually arresting dramas of the year

Alarm bells start ringing whenever you discover an author is adapting their own work for a screenplay. In the case of New Zealand novelist Eleanor Catton, the alarm proves to be false. Over the course of seven years, and apparently 200 drafts...

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The King of Staten Island review - Apatow's best work in a decade

The master of crowd-pleasing comedy, Judd Apatow, returns with another on-brand tale of arrested development with The King of Staten Island. While it's near his signature anarchic charm, this comedy-drama shows that even a veteran director/...

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Book extract: Holiday Heart by Margarita García Robayo translated by Charlotte Coombe

Holiday heart, instead of sentimental love discovered on vacation, describes a faltering organ, overloaded from excess consumption: a heart at risk. In Margarita Garcia Robayo’s brilliantly observant, often sardonically pitched novel, the heart...

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