The Widow: a quiet but powerful voice

I've never been a real crime novel fan although I did enjoy Into the Fire by Manda Scott, mainly because of the sustained tension and the gripping and likeable characters. I heard about The Widow from Madeleine Milburn at a writers' conference and she lauded the book because of its immediately interesting and arresting voice. The …

Continue reading The Widow: a quiet but powerful voice

Advertisement

‘The Fishermen’: everything about Obioma’s novel is superb.

In the blurb on the back cover of The Fishermen, New York Times suggests that 'Chigozie Obioma truly is the heir to Chinua Achebe.' I read Things Fall Apart years ago and loved it: it was the archetypal 'modern' African novel and the title comes from a wonderful W. B. Yeats' poem The Second Coming. …

Continue reading ‘The Fishermen’: everything about Obioma’s novel is superb.

Review: ‘The Shock of the Fall’ and ‘Thursdays in the Park’

I'm on a quest to read popular novels that aren't the type of thing I'd usually read. Novels which might make one of my most respected literary  friends wrinkle her nose and push it aside if I offered to lend it to her. The sort of writing I'm not steeped in. I'm doing this because, as a writer, …

Continue reading Review: ‘The Shock of the Fall’ and ‘Thursdays in the Park’

Beasts of no Nation: a novel about a boy and a gun

Uzodinma Iweala's novel Beasts of no Nation is a brutal story about a boy who is forced to become a soldier. I read it in an hour and it has real impact. It's written in the present continuous tense, which  gives it a sense of immediacy and the voice of the character is omnipresent, youthful and naive,. His language …

Continue reading Beasts of no Nation: a novel about a boy and a gun

When to stop and when to read on until the bitter end?

A few days ago, I began reading a book which didn't immediately grab my attention. Like all readers, I encounter novels which work for me and some which don't. Even among  novelists whose work I love, there are books which don't do it for me. Donna Tartt is a great example- I loved The Goldfinch and The …

Continue reading When to stop and when to read on until the bitter end?