wed 20/01/2021

fiction

Raven Leilani: Luster - portrait of the artist as a black millennial woman

One of the finer episodes in Raven Leilani’s startling debut (which contains an embarrassment of fine episodes) comes about halfway through, when Edie, our young, struggling black narrator, starts working as a rider for a “popular in-app delivery...

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George Saunders: A Swim in a Pond in the Rain review – Russian lessons in literature and life

Before he published fiction, George Saunders trained as an engineer and wrote technical reports. The Booker-winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo, and four volumes of short stories, still has a telling fondness for precisely-scaled kits, blueprints...

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Courttia Newland: A River Called Time review - an ethereality check

It is near impossible to imagine what the world would look like today if slavery and colonialism had never existed, let alone to write a book on the subject. Courttia Newland sets himself this daunting task in his latest novel, A River Called Time....

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Roald and Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse, Sky One review – twinkly tale for troubled times

They say "never meet your heroes". That may be true, but it forms the premise of a new TV drama concerning two of the world’s most famous children’s authors – Beatrix Potter and Roald Dahl – who encounter each other at opposite ends of their life....

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Goran Vojnović: The Fig Tree review - falling apart together as Yugoslavia splits

Seven years ago, at a literary festival in the Croatian port of Pula, I heard Goran Vojnović talk about the vicious petty nationalism that that had poisoned daily life in the republics of former Yugoslavia. At that point the splintering of...

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Don DeLillo: The Silence review - when the lights of technology go out

Don DeLillo’s latest novella, The Silence, has been marketed with an emphasis on its prescience, describing the shocked lacuna of time around a devastating event whose repercussions are yet to be truly felt. It is a compelling short read, but a...

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Zaina Arafat: You Exist Too Much review - second-generation love addiction

Zaina Arafat’s debut details the trials and tribulations of its first generation American-Palestinian narrator, desperately seeking love, but unable to stand its stifling reciprocation. Her struggles are all tied up with her inability to admit her...

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Another Round review - delight and despair

You can practically smell the fumes coming off Thomas Vinterberg’s latest drama Another Round, known in Denmark simply as "Druk". Co-written with Tobias Lindholm, the story is anchored in a theory proposed by Finn Skårderud that humans have a blood...

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Andrey Kurkov: Grey Bees review - light Ukrainian odyssey, with bite

This time, the Ukrainian author of Death and the Penguin, known for his brilliantly dark humour, has written a modern-day odyssey, with a return that is ambiguously hopeful. Grey Bees follows a year in the life of Sergey Sergeyich, a retired...

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Jenny Hval: Girls Against God review - a sticky dance through space and time

Jenny Hval’s Girls Against God covers every angsty young woman’s favourite subjects. Witchcraft, heavy metal, viscera, and hatred. It’s a book in the grand tradition of Kathy Acker and women surrealists everywhere, dancing through space and...

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LFF 2020: Nomadland review - Francis McDormand gives a career-defining performance

Chloé Zhao’s The Rider was a film of rare honesty and beauty. Who would have thought she’d be able to top the power of that majestic docudrama? But with Nomadland she has.To call it a loose adaptation of Jessica Bruder’s Nomadland: Surviving America...

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The Secret History of My Library: Essay by Daniel Saldaña París

Books lost, left in houses I never returned to; dictionaries mislaid during a move; seven boxes sold to a second-hand bookstore… The history of my library is the history of loss and an impossible collection, scattered around several countries,...

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