The Immeasurable World: Journeys in Desert Places by William Atkins

Reviewed by Rebecca Foster When I saw him introduce The Immeasurable World as part of the Faber Spring Party, William Atkins characterised it as being in “the old-fashioned travel writing tradition”. What he meant by that, I think, is twofold: one, that he travelled to his locations personally and spent significant time in each (a…

All the Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J Church

Reviewed by Rebecca Foster Elizabeth J. Church’s debut novel, The Atomic Weight of Love (reviewed here), was about an 87-year-old amateur ornithologist whose husband was one of the creators of the atomic bomb. I could see some of its themes – the difficulty of a woman choosing her own path and making it fit into…

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…

Admissions by Henry Marsh

Reviewed by Rebecca Foster Brain surgeon Henry Marsh’s first book, Do No Harm, was one of my favorite reads of 2015. In short, enthrallingly detailed chapters named after conditions he had treated or observed, he reflected on life as a surgeon, expressing sorrow over botched operations and marveling at the God-like power he wields over people’s quality of…

Theft by finding david sedaris

Theft by Finding by David Sedaris

Reviewed by Rebecca Foster I’ve read six of David Sedaris’s humorous collections of personal essays. A college friend first recommended him to me in 2011, and I started with When You Are Engulfed in Flames – which I still think is his best book, though Me Talk Pretty One Day is also very good. Sedaris…

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…

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Reviewed by Rebecca Foster From the title and the Montego Bay, Jamaica setting, you might be expecting a story line light enough to match the Beatles’ pop song. But Nicole Dennis-Benn’s debut novel is no cheerful tale. Instead, you might think of the sun as coming to expose secrets, crimes and prejudice. The focus is…