Roffey Tryst

The Tryst by Monique Roffey

Reviewed by Harriet This is a remarkable book by any standard. It’s marketed by the publisher, Dodo Ink, as a literary erotic novella, which sounds about right, as long as you remember the emphasis on the literary bit. There is certainly a huge amount of vivid, sometimes violent, sex here, but it’s about as far…

Autumn by Ali Smith (pbk)

Reviewed by Clare Rowland Autumn is the first of four books in a planned series of novels by Ali Smith named after the seasons and which focus on how we experience time. Set during the fallout of the Brexit referendum result in 2016, it follows the friendship between Elisabeth Demand, a 32-year-old history-of-art lecturer, and her eccentric…

The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley

Reviewed by Annabel Natasha Pulley’s debut novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (which I reviewed here in 2015), was a wonderful discovery. A period thriller with hints of steampunk fantasy, and a matching beautiful cover design complete with cutout watch dial, it became an instant favourite of the year. Now Bloomsbury have done it again,…

Rosie Millard Brazilian

The Brazilian by Rosie Millard

Reviewed by Laura Marriott The Brazilian opens in a London beauty salon where the middle class and nearly middle aged (although she would be furious if you suggested so!) Jane is getting a Brazilian and discussing her upcoming holiday to Ibiza with the beauty technician. Jane is annoyed and perhaps slightly scandalised when she hears…

The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose

Reviewed by Harriet A kickass debut from start to finish’ screams the cover of this highly readable, somewhat bizarre, debut novel. It’s a book that defies categorisation – perhaps best described as a picaresque coming-of-age novel, it manages to combine urban exploration, the Darknet, secret societies, the exploitation of teenagers, and the life and works…

The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam (pbk)

Reviewed by Susan Osborne This novel is unlikely to appeal to everyone although we should all read it. It’s about assisted suicide, one of the great moral dilemmas of the twenty-first century Western world where medicine has advanced in leaps and bounds but not the ethical framework for dealing with its unintended consequences. Steven Amsterdam’s…

Testimony by Scott Turow

Reviewed by Basil Ransome Davies The ‘international theme’ – Old World/New World – was a foreground concern of Henry James. It typically featured the experience in Europe of an American innocent abroad, tasting the established, superior culture but also confronting the worldlier, more devious mindset of the host nationality. Posh transatlantic marriages could be made…

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, by Theodora Goss

Reviewed by Helen Parry I’m very fond of Theodora Goss’s short stories, so when I saw that she was publishing a novel I was excited and ordered a copy straight away. Goss’s stories are often formally quite experimental and fantastical; if you like Lud-in-the-Mist or Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, her work will appeal to…

Elmet by Fiona Mozley

Reviewed by David Hebblethwaite When the 2017 Man Booker Prize longlist was announced last month, it included a number of familiar names (including Jon McGregor’s Reservoir 13, which I’ve reviewed for Shiny previously). But there was also one entirely unknown quantity: a debut novel that, at the time, had yet to be published. Fiona Mozley’s…

The Sixteen Trees of the Somme by Lars Mytting

Translated by Paul Russell Garrett Reviewed by Harriet For me my mother was a scent, she was a warmth. A leg I clung to. A breath of something blue; a dress I remember her wearing. She fired me into the world with a bowstring, I told myself, and when I shaped my memories of her,…

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

Reviewed by Annabel   This certainly is the year for novels about popular music, particularly on vinyl, and also the power of picking just the right song. Of those I’ve come across, there is Magnus Mills’ droll and geeky The Forensic Record Society, Laura Barnett’s soundtrack of a life in Greatest Hits and the first…

What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

Reviewed by Rebecca Foster Born in the UK, raised largely in Nigeria, and now resident in Minneapolis, USA – Africa and the West are blended in debut author Lesley Nneka Arimah’s heritage just as they are in her vibrant short fiction. “Light,” one of the stories in What It Means when a Man Falls from…

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Reviewed by Gill Davies Pachinko is a very different novel from Min Jin Lee’s earlier Free Food (reviewed here). It is a historical novel covering nearly 100 years of the experiences of a Korean family, touching on the momentous events that shape their destinies as well as their everyday lives and relationships. The opening sequences…

Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee

Reviewed by Gill Davies I am going to review two novels by Min Jin Lee (the other one is Patchinko, reviewed here). This one was her first; it was successful and quite well reviewed and is now reprinted in paperback to coincide with the publication of her second novel. I can’t wholeheartedly say I enjoyed it…

The Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes

Reviewed by Annabel Natalie Haynes may be most familiar to you as a journalist and broadcaster, popping up on various shows and with her own series Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics on BBC Radio 4, which takes an irreverent look at ancient Greek and Roman life. Her first novel, The Amber Fury, (published…