Tag Archive: Book Review

Jan 06

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

Adam Haslett’s Imagine Me Gone spans a fourty year period.  It begins in the 1960s when Margaret, an American living in London, marries John, who while charming and charismatic has also been battling with depression since he was a teen. Moving back to America they have three children, Michael, Celia and Alec. For most of …

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Jan 04

Serious Sweet by A.L. Kennedy

Jon is a public servant in Westminster who hates his job. He’s just left his wife – who was having an affair – and struggles to be a decent father to his daughter. In his spare time he writes love letters (for a small fee) to single women looking for companionship, even if it’s in …

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Dec 21

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

Do Not Say We Have Nothing is an overlong multi-generational saga mostly set in China that deals with more than 60 years of the country’s history, starting with 1949’s Communist Revolution moving onto the Cultural Revolution (1966) and climaxing with the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. In between these major events in Chinese history we …

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Dec 20

The Schooldays of Jesus by J. M. Coetzee

It’s been pointed out to me that this isn’t the best place to start with Coetzee. Not just because this is the second book in a planned trilogy (the first novel being The Childhood of Jesus) but because Coetzee, with his long, distinguished, Nobel Prize winning career has written many a fine novel and this …

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Dec 16

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

Graeme Macrae Burnet’s His Bloody Project is a historical crime novel, set in the 1860s, that takes place, for the most part, in Culduie, a small hamlet in the Scottish Highlands. Through the medium of found documents, newspaper articles and police reports of the time, the book details the brutal murder of 40-year-old Lachlan MacKenzie, 15-year-old …

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Dec 15

Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves

It’s bad form when a reviewer critiques a novel for not being the book her or she wanted.  Unprofessional even.  And yet here I am writing a critique that does precisely that.  It’s not my fault though.  I blame Virginia Reeves for constantly reminding me, teasing me even, with that better novel hiding in the …

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Dec 13

The Many by Wyl Menmuir

Wyl Menmuir’s The Many is a frustrating read in as much as you can see what the author was striving for – grief explored through dream and symbolism – but fails to reach the mark. The bulk of the action takes place in an isolated fishing town on the coast of what I assume is …

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Dec 12

All That Man Is by David Szalay

David Szalay’s All That Man Is isn’t so much a novel* as a suite of nine novelettes. What connects these novelettes isn’t a character – although there is a genetic connection between the protagonists of stories one and nine – or a setting – though traveling through Europe is a consistent feature of each story …

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Dec 09

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

In My Name Is Lucy Barton, the titular character ruminates about her less than pristine childhood in Amgash, Illinois. The catalyst for these memories is a prolonged stay at the hospital in the early 80s where Lucy, suffering from an unexplained fever, is visited by her estranged mother. Her mother stays by Lucy’s bed for …

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Dec 06

Hystopia by David Means

“Hystopia” is the name Eugene Allen gives to his war novel, an attempt to work through the trauma he experienced during the Vietnam War. But before we even begin “Hystopia”, the reader is provided with a lengthy note from an editor that puts Allen’s book into historical context. In fact the editor, in the opening …

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