Some thoughts about the novel by Adele Geras

Adèle originally published this piece at Writers Review, a blog she shares with fellow authors Linda Newbery and Celia Rees. We enjoyed it so much, we asked Adèle if we could share it here too.  The novel is in rude good health. Millions of people all over the world buy novels, read them, discuss them, take…

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

Reviewed by Annabel After the searing, taboo-breaking storyline of O’Neil’s second novel, Asking For It (reviewed here), a young adult story about consent, teenage sex-shaming and the fallout from it, Almost Love, O’Neill’s first adult novel, could seem almost underwhelming in comparison. But this is a slow-burn drama, written for a different audience. There’s not…

Dance of the Jakaranda by Peter Kimani

Reviewed by Terence Jagger This is a tricky book to read, though I enjoyed much of it. It is funny and observant, but painful too. Kimani has a strong view on the total evil of colonialism and its creatures, and this unalloyed negativity and cynicism can be corrosive, however justified much of his criticism is.…

The Earlie King & the Kid in Yellow by Danny Denton

Reviewed by Basil Ransome-Davies At the close of James Joyce’s moving and magisterial story ‘The Dead’ the reader learns that ‘snow was general all over Ireland… falling faintly through the universe … on all the living and the dead’, and the settling, drifting whiteness is given its full emotional force in a tale of imprisoned…

Ghosts of the Tsunami by Richard Lloyd Parry

Reviewed by Terence Jagger Japan suffers multitudes of earthquakes every year and is among the best prepared countries in the world. Tsunami, too, are common, and both are planned for meticulously. But March 2011 was different. This is a staggering book, intensely moving, and a wonderfully penetrating insight into modern Japan, both its resilience and…

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

Reviewed by Harriet We’ve reviewed two of Laura Lippman’s novels in Shiny, here and here. One was a police procedural and the other a standalone – Lippman’s output is fairly evenly divided between the two. She’s known as a crime writer, but if that’s not your genre of choice, don’t dismiss her novels, which rise…

The Town Major of Miraucourt by J.B. Priestley

Reviewed by Julie Barham This is a small book, covering the only writing published by the well – known author and broadcaster J.B. Priestley concerning his service as a soldier in the First World War. He volunteered as soon as possible, suffered many life threatening situations, and was finally injured by gas in the summer…

Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan

Reviewed by Liz Dexter This is a truly delightful book which is a MUST if you’re a 35-55 year old British person and a great read for everyone else, too. Enjoy a lovely journey through children’s books as Mangan takes you through her reading childhood from The Very Hungry Caterpillar to Judy Blume, with stops…

The Good Mothers by Alex Perry

Reviewed by Max Dunbar Operation Shame Nowadays, when we think of the mafia, it’s with a sense of nostalgia. David Chase captured the feel in classic mob drama The Sopranos. New Jersey don Tony Soprano is very much the modern crime boss. He’s real and frightening, the threat he poses is palpable, but his finances…

The Extremist by Nadia Dalbuono

Reviewed by Marina Sofia You might be forgiven for expecting this book set in Italy to be translated from Italian, given the Italian sounding name of the author. In fact, Nadia Dalbuono has studied in the UK, worked for many years as a TV consultant and documentary maker for Channel 4 and ITV, and writes…

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Reviewed by Harriet I forget everything between footsteps. ‘Anna!’ I finish shouting, snapping my mouth shut in surprise. My mind has gone blank. I don’t know who Anna is or why I’m calling her name. I don’t even know how I got here. I’m standing in a forest, shielding my eyes from the spitting rain.…

Home by Amanda Berriman

Reviewed by Lucy Unwin This is a heartbreaking ache of a book: it explores some harrowing themes, opens doors to experiences we should all be aware of, and is gripping and terrifyingly tense. But there’s a joy glowing at the heart of Home that elevates it above your average tear-jerker or page-turner. A joy that…

Desire by Una Silberrad

Reviewed by Julie Barham This book by the seemingly prolific writer, Silberrad, is an excellent read not only for its time, 1908, but a relevant read for today. Seen as a ‘New Woman’ novel for its depiction of Desire, the female protagonist, as a strong, independently minded woman who rises above her varying situations, it is…

Daphne by Will Boast

Reviewed by Annabel The vogue for using ancient myth to inspire contemporary novels continues unabated. Last year, Kamila Shamsie updated the story of Antigone in Home Fire, in which a family is riven by politics. Now living in the US, English author Will Boast uses the myth of Daphne to drive his debut novel.You don’t…

Elisabeth’s Lists: A Family Story by Lulah Ellender

Reviewed by Gill Davies Lulah Ellender’s book – subtitled “A Family Story” – is part biography, part family history, and it includes reflections on her own family which gradually emerge from the broader narrative. At its centre is the life and early death of her grandmother, Elisabeth Knatchbull-Hugessen, who was born in 1915 into an upper-middle-class English…

Solo: The Joy of Cooking for One by Signe Johansen

Reviewed by Hayley Anderton When I look at my collection of cookbooks it’s clear that there’s one truth that isn’t being universally acknowledged; they’re all geared towards cooking for family and friends despite the growing number of people who live alone. Despite spending most of my time cooking only for myself, I hadn’t given it…

Owl Sense by Miriam Darlington

Review by Peter Reason Miriam Darlington’s first book, Otter Country, recounted her search and study of otters in Britain. I reviewed this book with enthusiasm in Resurgence & Ecologist, noting in particular how she described startlingly close encounters with otters with a vividness that took me deeply into the experience. So I opened her second…

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

Reviewed by Max Dunbar Command the Mermaid Speak Last year a monster emerged from London’s sewers. The ‘fatberg’ – as the city’s waste disposal experts called it – was a giant composite of body waste, disposable nappies, antiseptic wipes, pet gravel, shopping trolleys and God knows what else that ends up in the tunnels underneath the…