Gerald Murnane: Barley Patch

The latest addition to my website is Gerald Murnane‘s Barley Patch. This is a superb work from one of Australia’s foremost novelists about the art of fiction. The anonymous narrator insists that it is a work of fiction but much of the book is about writing fiction and, in particular, about how images affect both … Read more

James Barke: Major Operation

The latest addition to my website is James Barke‘s Major Operation. Barke is a Scottish novelist who has sadly disappeared from view, though Canongate did reissue his Land of the Leal. This novel is set in Depression-era Glasgow and is overtly left-wing. We follow the tale of some ship workers who lose their jobs when … Read more

Whiter than white

There is a bit of a furore going on at the moment following Janet Maslin’s Cool Books for Hot Summer Days, her summer reading recommendations in the New York Times. (I have often wondered why there should be special beach reading lists. Why can’t you just read the same books you read the rest of … Read more

Yuri Andrukhovych: Перверзія (Perverzion)

The latest addition to my website is Yuri Andrukhovych‘s Перверзія (Perverzion). This is a wonderful post-modern romp, telling the story of what may be the last week in the life of Stakh Perfetsky, poet, dandy, trickster, performer, traveller and, of course, lover. He is giving a speech at a conference in Venice called The Postcarnival … Read more

The year of the mega-novel

In the Independent today, Alice Jones says that this year is going to be the year of the mega-novel. Jones is not entirely happy with this, and is still struggling with The Luminaries and has given up on Middlemarch. Having read and enjoyed both and also enjoyed A Suitable Boy, which she also mentions, I … Read more

Anne Enright: The Green Road

The latest addition to my website is Anne Enright‘s The Green Road. Enright is definitely making a claim to be the best living Irish novelist and this novel will only add to her reputation. It tells the story of a contemporary, somewhat (but not too) dysfunctional family, the Madigans, who live in West Clare. At … Read more

Nuruddin Farah: Sardines

The latest addition to my website is Nuruddin Farah‘s Sardines. This is similar to many of his other novels in that we have a brave person, in this case a woman called Medina, who stands up to the brutal repression from the General/President, the tribal system and the old-fashioned and repressive Islamic law. She is … Read more

Enrique Vila-Matas: El mal de Montano (Montano’s Malady)

The latest addition to my website is Enrique Vila-Matas‘ El mal de Montano (Montano’s Malady). This a wonderfully post-modern novel, following on from Bartleby y compañía (Bartleby & Co.), a romp through modern (primarily European and Latin American) literature and narrated by the father of the author of the book in Bartleby y compañía (Bartleby … Read more