sat 18/05/2024

fiction

Andrew O'Hagan: Caledonian Road review - London's Dickensian return

Andrew O’Hagan’s new novel, Caledonian Road, feels very much intended to be an epic, or at the very least has designs on being a seminal work, documenting the modern (European) human condition. Character and storyline-rich, dense, and morally...

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Best of 2023: Books

From wandering Rachmaninoff to Ulysses tribute, or a poet’s boyhood in Dundee to sleeplessness and arboreal inner lives, our reviewers share their literary picks from 2023.Prototype Press continues to publish much of the most interesting British...

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First Person: novelist Pip Adam on the sound of injustice

I know it rattles me, so I try to prepare for it. But I am never fully prepared for the noise.The correctional facilities I have visited over the last 30 years are noisy places. A secure building requires strong doors that are opened and shut –...

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Mathias Énard: The Annual Banquet of the Gravediggers' Guild review - a man of infinite death

"Death, as a general statement, is so easy of utterance, of belief", wrote Amy Levy, "it is only when we come face to face with it that we find the great mystery so cruelly hard to realise; for death, like love, is ever old and ever new". In Mathias...

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Warhol, Velázquez, and leaving things out: an interview with Lynne Tillman

Motion Sickness (1991) is the second novel published by the writer, art collector and cultural critic Lynne Tillman. It is difficult, to her credit, to say what it is really about – what makes Tillman a formative figure for much contemporary fiction...

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Caitlin Merrett King: Always Open Always Closed review - looking for an approach while trying to do the approach

Always Open Always Closed is Caitlin Merrett King’s first published work of fiction, and it begins paratactically, with a list of displacements:MS REAL FEELS POSITIONLESS At her desk in the studio (not as often as she would like) or at the kitchen...

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Henry Hoke: Open Throat review - if a lion could speak

I approached Henry Hoke’s fifth book, Open Throat, with some trepidation. A slim novel (156 pages), it seemed, at first glance, to be an over-intellectualised prose-cum-poetical text about a mountain lion.But the novel was so much more: an odd but...

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Andrey Kurkov: Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv review - a city speaks its multitudes

Rock music helped to subvert the Soviet Union by glamorising youthful rebellion and the West. In the opening scene of Andrey Kurkov’s novel Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv, a bunch of ageing hippies gather at night on the anniversary of the American...

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Max Porter: Shy review - an ode to boyhood and rage

Max Porter continues his fascination with the struggles of youth in his newest release, Shy: his most beautifully-wrought writing to date, an ode to boyhood and a sensitive deconstruction of rage, its confused beginnings, its volatile results, and...

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First Person: Sophie Haydock on going beyond the grave

It was a cold day in Vienna when Egon Schiele was buried in the Ober-Sankt-Veit cemetery. He was just 28 years old.The controversial artist – who’d rocked Austria’s bourgeois society with his scandalous artworks and been imprisoned for “indecency...

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Lydia Sandgren: Collected Works review - the mysteries that surround us all

Lydia Sandgren’s debut novel, Collected Works, a bestseller in her native Sweden, has now been translated by Agnes Broomé into English, in all its 733-page glory. An epic family saga, it has flavours of the realism of her countryman, Karl Ove...

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Seraphina Madsen: Aurora review - the tarot won’t save us

“There is another world… a way of perceiving that is chaotic and awesome and terrifying,” announces Seraphina Madsen’s cigarillo-smoking, telepathic cat.Lecturing a teenage coven on the art of sorcery and how to tap into the powers of the “Unseen...

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