Artemis by Andy Weir

Reviewed by Annabel Those who read Weir’s debut novel, The Martian (which Dan reviewed for us here), tended to fall into two camps. As SF novels go, it was funny, cheesy and geeky, and despite having one helluva plot, didn’t take itself too seriously, which made it a Marmite book for many. I was one…

We that are Young by Preti Taneja

Reviewed by Lucy Unwin We That Are Young is ambitious. So very ambitious, and so very good. Most strikingly it’s a thorough and impressive academic exercise, but it’s also a great story, engrossingly told, a refreshing study of female sexuality and the male perception of it, and a Trainspotting-esque seminal moment in literature for young,…

Nine Lessons by Nicola Upson

Reviewed by Harriet Nine Lessons is the seventh of Nicola Upson’s crime novels featuring the mystery writer Josephine Tey (1896-1952). I normally have a few reservations about the seemingly fashionable trend of making real writers the subject of fictional books, but I’ve been a fan of Josephine Tey’s brilliant crime novels for as long as…

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

Reviewed by Alice Farrant “We can get the Times to write something. Or that nut from the Observer.” “Wait, what… what nut from the Observer?” “Frank something? The one who’s so in love with his typewriter. This is just the sort of thing that would outrage him!”    You’ve Got Mail [1998] It is no…

Ornithology by Nicholas Royle

Reviewed by Annabel Earlier this year, I reviewed the novel An English Guide to Birdwatching by an author named Nicholas Royle, and I interviewed its author too here. Ornithology is not by the same Nicholas Royle – you need to know that. In fact, as the other Nicholas Royle told me, the two authors have…

The Other Woman by Laura Wilson

Reviewed by Harriet A couple of years ago on Shiny I reviewed Laura Wilson’s The Wrong Girl. That was a tense psychological thriller centring on family relationships, and so, in a sense, is this one. It’s certainly a page-turner – I whizzed through it in record time – but it’s in a very different mode.…

A Legacy of Spies by John Le Carré

Reviewed by Basil Ransome Davies However deeply the irony may have entered his soul, John le Carré has no reputation as a jester. An element of satire typifies his work, always. But mainly he’s an angry, scornful author, whose anger is played back at him by those who feel he has let the side down…

The Woodcutter and His Family by Frank McGuinness

Reviewed by Rob Spence It’s startling to note that there’s more secondary writing about James Joyce than there is about Shakespeare. He must be the most investigated, elucidated, glossed and theorized author in the English language. His standing as a literary giant, and, I think, the fact that so much of his output was autobiographical,…

New People by Danzy Senna

Reviewed by Alice Farrant Maria and Khalil are the perfect couple, “King and Queen of the Racially Nebulous Prom”. Maria is a successful scholar, writing her dissertation on the Jonestown Massacre, while Khalil benefits from the dot-com boom as his business takes off. They are even picked to star in a new documentary on people…

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

Reviewed by Gill Davies This is Attica Locke’s fourth novel and a stunning follow-up. Black Water Rising was set in 1981; Pleasantville in 1996 and both used the crime genre with deep political insight to explore crime and corruption in Houston. Bluebird, Bluebird is right up to date, infused with anger at the growing visibility…

Sugar Money by Jane Harris

Reviewed by Harriet Jane Harris is not exactly a prolific novelist. Five years passed between the publication of her debut novel The Observations (2006) and her second outing Gillespie and I (2011). Now her many fans will be breathing a sigh of relief that the waiting is over for her third, Sugar Money, just published.…

Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi pbk

Reviewed by Lucy Unwin There is no question, this book is stunning: in its scope, its ambition, in what it can teach us and in the skill on display. In Homegoing, a portrait of a West African family in 1754 feels as true to life as dialogue between kids at a California pool party today.…

Return to the Dark Valley by Santiago Gamboa

Translated by Howard Curtis Reviewed by Basil Ransome-Davies I found a molten quality in this novel (if it is a novel). It burns off the page, as they say. It is very much a demonstration of the melting-down and intermingling of styles, genres, discourses, fact and fiction, dream and distanced analysis etc., that in South…

The Squeeze by Lesley Glaister

Reviewed by Anna Hollingsworth Admitted, to say that the world has shrunk into a village has shrunk into a cliché itself. But the cliché is painfully accurate, and Lesley Glaister’s The Squeeze plays out the global village in its most brutal sense. Glaister squeezes Europe into an Edinburgh brothel, where global human rights violations and…

Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak (pbk)

Reviewed by Eric Karl Anderson It’s deeply frightening and upsetting how politically divided society is at the moment. When different factions are so convinced about the certitude of their own ideas and beliefs conflict is inevitable. Religion continues to be at the centre of many battles, yet in her new novel Elif Shafak creates the…