wed 05/10/2022

fiction

'The first thing I do when I wake up is write.' Hilary Mantel, 1952-2022

Hilary Mantel, who has died at the age of 70, was a maker of literary history. Wolf Hall, an action-packed 650-page brick of a book about the rise and rise of Thomas Cromwell, won the Man Booker Prize in 2009. Three years later its successor,...

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Olivier Guez: The Disappearance of Josef Mengele review - the Nazi who was never found

Bringing Olivier Guez’s novel The Disappearance of Josef Mengele on a beach holiday may seem like an odd choice (such is the lot of a reviewer). This incongruity transformed into something stranger, however, when I learned that the Nazi doctor Josef...

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Amalie Smith: Thread Ripper review - the tangled web we weave

Sitting in the park on a hot summer’s day, life began to imitate art. I had been soaking up the sun’s now overpowering rays for over an hour and was beginning to feel its radiating effects.Golden green filaments of grass moved back, the trees swayed...

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Katya Adaui: Here Be Icebergs review - odd relations

The title of Katya Adaui’s debut collection in English is taken from one of the 12 short stories it contains: an allusion to the depths hidden below the surface, which is also one of the book’s central motifs.Adaui is the Peruvian author of three...

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Mieko Kawakami: All the Lovers in the Night review - the raw relatability of loneliness

Mieko Kawakami is the champion of the loner. Since achieving immense success in the UK with her translated works, she has become an indie fiction icon for her modern, visceral depictions of characters who exist on the fringes of Japanese society....

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10 Questions for art historian and fiction writer Chloë Ashby

“Is she at a pivotal point in her life but unable to pivot…?” Eve, the young heroine of Chloë Ashby’s dazzling debut novel, Wet Paint, asks this question standing in front of Édouard Manet’s painting "A Bar at the Folies-Bergère" (1882). Yet she...

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Kim Hye-jin: Concerning My Daughter review - room for complication

In this best-selling Korean novella, recently translated into English by Jamie Chang, Kim Hye-jin offers us the perspective of a Korean mother. It’s narrated entirely from the perspective of a woman of around 60 who has a daughter in her thirties...

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Extract: Catching Fire by Daniel Hahn

Daniel Hahn began his translation of Jamás el fuego nunca, a novel by experimental Chilean artist Diamela Eltit, in January 2021. Considering the careful, difficult but not impossible “craft” of translation as he worked, Hahn kept a diary,...

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Holding, ITV review - Graham Norton’s novel moves seamlessly to the small screen

The terrain Holding occupies is well travelled, but this new ITV four-part drama travels over it really well. The landmarks are familiar: a quiet rural community, a cop with an unhealthy lifestyle and a secret sorrow, a feud between rival lovers of...

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Salley Vickers: The Gardener review - nature has other ideas

A garden is a space defined by its limits. Whatever its contents in terms of style and species, and however manicured or apparently wild its appearance, what distinguishes a garden from its equivalent quantity of uncultivated land is its enclosure...

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Extract: My Pen is the Wing of a Bird, New Fiction by Afghan Women

"My pen is the wing of a bird; it will tell you those thoughts we are not allowed to think, those dreams we are not allowed to dream." Batool Haidari’s words give this bold collection of stories its title and epigraph. She is one of 18 writers from...

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Tessa Hadley: Free Love review - the Sixties, the suburbs and the hippie dream

Free Love opens in 1967 and remains within that heady era throughout; no flashbacks, no spanning of generations as in Hadley's wonderful novels The Past or Late in the Day. Phyllis, aged 40, is a suburban housewife, C of E, deeply apolitical and a...

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