The Future of British Fiction

Last week saw the issue of the very wonderful Review of Contemporary Fiction’s The Future of British Fiction, edited by Jennifer Hodgson and Patricia Waugh. It is dated Fall 2012 but actually appeared on 23 April. This is, of course, St George’s Day, St George being the patron saint of the English (but definitely not … Read more

Granta’s Best Young British Novelists

Being away last week, I was able to peruse the Granta Best of Young British Novelists 4 at leisure and let others more competent than I comment on it. If you missed it, here they are: Naomi Alderman; Tahmima Anam; Ned Beauman; Jenni Fagan; Adam Foulds; Xiaolu Guo; Sarah Hall; Steven Hall; Joanna Kavenna; Benjamin … Read more

Devon and literature

We spent the last week in Devon, on the edge of Dartmoor, including walking up to Black a Tor Copse (photo left), which we had seen in the BBC’s Secret Britain. Devon has various literary connections. Two novels that featured in the Dartmoor Information Centre were Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse, partially set in the Dartmoor … Read more

François Mauriac: Le noeud de vipères (Vipers’ Tangle; later: The Knot of Vipers)

The latest addition to my website is François Mauriac‘s Le noeud de vipères (Vipers’ Tangle; later: The Knot of Vipers). It is considered one of Mauriac’s best novel, a judgement with which I wholeheartedly concur. It tells the story of a very successful lawyer, who hates his family (wife, children, their spouses and children) with … Read more

Sarah A. Al Shafei: Yummah

The latest addition to my website is Sarah A. Al Shafei‘s Yummah, the first Bahraini novel on the site. It is more of a memoir, a tribute to her grandmother who had nine children, a husband who deserted her when she was pregnant with the ninth and various other tragedies in her life, yet managed … Read more

American Men of Letters

Alfred A Knopf have posted a Facebook page, laughingly entitled American Men of Letters. I say laughingly as if their five American Men of Letters (they presumably mean United States) are the best they can do, God help US letters. They have done it in, to use a US expression, a half-assed way with a … Read more

Rupert Thomson: Secrecy

The latest addition to my website is Rupert Thomson‘s latest novel Secrecy. Unusually for Thomson, it is set in the past – seventeenth century Florence – and involves several real people, including the main character Gaetano Zummo, who made sculptures out of wax, particularly ones showing decomposing bodies. Zummo comes to work for Grand Duke … Read more

Chinghiz Gusseinov: Магомед, Мамед, Мамиш (Mahomet, Mahmed, Mamish)

The latest addition to my website is Chinghiz Gusseinov‘s Магомед, Мамед, Мамиш (Mahomet, Mahmed, Mamish), an Azerbaijani novel, the first one from that country on my website. While certainly not a great novel, it is is certainly very enjoyable, telling the story of a rumbunctious family in Baku who both stick closely together while not … Read more

Margaret Thatcher in literature

I shall not be shedding any tears for Margaret Thatcher. I think that she did untold harm to this country and the day she was kicked out by her own party, despite the fact that she had never lost an election, was a good day. A while ago, I compiled a a list of Thatcher … Read more