The Ropewalker and A People Without a Past by Jaan Kross

Translated by Merike Lepasaar Beecher Reviewed by Gill Davies Thanks to the wonderful Maclehose Press I have discovered another writer in translation who deserves to be much better known. Up to now, according to Wikipedia, only four novels and one collection of stories by Jaan Kross have been published in English translations. The two novels…

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…

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Reviewed by Gill Davies Following on from her highly-acclaimed first novel, The Dry, Jane Harper has written a second gripping story featuring the harsh Australian outback and a detective called Aaron Falk. Both novels have a powerful, often disturbing, sense of place; and both take us beyond the generic boundaries of crime fiction to think…

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…

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…

A Wreath of Roses by Elizabeth Taylor

Reviewed by Gill Davies When you were a child did you ever hunt for a lost ball among ferns and leaves and parting them quick to look … come suddenly upon a great toad, sitting there, very ugly and watchful. All the time there, though you didn’t know it, under the leaves. The shock, the…

The Longest Night by Otto de Kat

Reviewed by Gill Davies Otto de Kat is the pseudonym of a Dutch writer (journalist, poet, translator and editor) whose novels are set in Holland and Germany in the period just before and during World War II. Once again I find myself catching up with a writer who I wish I had read before. This…

She Died Young by Elizabeth Wilson (pbk)

Reviewed by Gill Davies She Died Young was published in hardback last year and is now available in paperback. It is the fourth novel by Elizabeth Wilson, better known (to me, at any rate) for her incisive and original feminist writing about aspects of popular culture, and fashion in particular. Her knowledge and insight cross…

Death Going Down by Maria Angelica Bosco

Reviewed by Gill Davies Translated by Lucy Greaves Thanks to Shiny – and the publishers – I am discovering and enjoying new crime writers. The latest one is the Argentine María Angélica Bosco who I had never heard of but whose work is well known and admired in Argentina. Death Going Down is reprinted in…