Ice by Anna Kavan

 Reviewed by Karen Langley Ice has come a long way since its first publication by its champion, Peter Owen, in 1968. My initial encounter with it was in a striking Picador edition from 1973, which I picked up in the early 1980s and still have on my shelves, although the pages are now browning and fragile.…

Unaccompanied Minor by Alexander Newley

Reviewed by Annabel The children of celebrity couples inevitably have a hard time growing up, especially when their parents split. You need only think of the late Carrie Fisher, daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher as a prime example. Carrie was later canny and secure enough in her writing and performing – and her…

Lullaby by Leila Slimani

Translated by Sam Taylor Reviewed by Harriet Moroccan born novelist Leïla Slimani is not the first woman to win France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, though she’s only the 13th woman to do so since the prize was established in 1903. Her novel, Chanson Douce, now translated as Lullaby, is however the first…

Eastern Horizons: Hitchhiking the Silk Road by Levison Wood

Reviewed by Liz Dexter It’s worth noting from the off that this is not a ‘new’ travel book by the popular explorer, but a revisiting of a journey he made in his early 20s, in the early part of this century. He hadn’t published on it before and apparently enjoyed revisiting his notebooks; it also…

Black Tudors by Miranda Kaufmann

Reviewed by Harriet Most people probably think that the presence of black people in Britain began with the large influx of nearly 500 who came over from Jamaica in 1948 on the MV Empire Windrush. Before that, we may have a vague idea that the relatively small number of black people who appear in 18th century…

Zen and the Art of Murder by Oliver Bottini

Translated by Jamie Bulloch Reviewed by Terence Jagger We are not in Japan, but Germany; set in the snowy Black Forest, not far from the French border, this novel starts with ‘maverick chief inspector’ Louise Boni being told to investigate a strange, lonely man wandering through the snow, an unknown Japanese monk. She is resentful…

A very Happy Shiny Christmas to you all…

Dear Shiny Readers   Another year has gone whizzing by as Shiny comes to the end of its fourth year. This has been a year of some big changes for us editors, and for you our loyal readers. Two of our hard-working co-editors decided to step back – Victoria for health reasons, and Simon because…

The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler

Reviewed by Annabel While I can’t claim to read anywhere near the volume of old and newly reprinted novels that some of my Shiny colleagues do – perennially falling for the latest novels by the latest literary darlings – I do love browsing in second-hand bookshops and I will always make a beeline for a…

The Red-Haired Woman by Orhan Pamuk

Translated by Ekin Oklap Reviewed by Rob Spence A new novel by Orhan Pamuk is always an event, and this one doesn’t disappoint. It’s an absorbing story, set in the recent past, but overshadowed by ancient epic tales that insinuate themselves into the lives of the protagonists, and propel them to their fates. In the…

AN ODYSSEY: A FATHER, A SON AND AN EPIC By DANIEL MENDELSOHN

Reviewed by Rebecca Foster Daniel Mendelsohn chairs the Humanities department at Bard College, where he was previously a Classics professor. He is the author of seven earlier books, ranging from literary criticism and translations of Cavafy to essay collections. With An Odyssey: A Father, a Son and an Epic, which was shortlisted for the 2017…

FAME IS THE SPUR BY HOWARD SPRING

Reviewed by Rebecca Foster   Fame Is the Spur (originally published in 1940) is the second out-of-print Howard Spring novel reissued by Head of Zeus’s Apollo imprint, following last year’s release of My Son, My Son. Spring is best known for his family sagas: My Son, My Son had autobiographical inspiration and concerned a writer…

The Guesthouse at the Sign of the Teetering Globe by Franziska Zu Reventlow

Translated by  James J. Conway Reviewed by Lizzy Siddal Countess Franziska zu Reventlow was born into the German nobility, and lived in the castle at Husum in Schleswig-Holstein, where none other than Theodor Storm, writer of the beloved but ghostly Schimmelreiter (Rider of the White Horse/Dykemaster, depending on which English translation you read) , used to…

The Runagates Club by John Buchan

Reviewed by Julie Barham This is a splendid book for all those who revel in the scary, the heroic and the unusual. Anyone familiar with John Buchan’s best known novel, The 39 Steps, will know that it contains a lot of chasing around Scotland and unusual events, combining humour and the fear that capture and…

Icebreaker by Horatio Clare

Reviewed by Liz Dexter Horatio Clare, who is quite an accomplished nature and travel writer, having a book on container ships and several on birds to his name, takes a journey to the far North, going out with an icebreaker ship for a working trip in the Bay of Bothnia, setting off from Finland and…