Review: The Betrayers – David Bezmozgis

I enjoyed reading this unusual book, The Betrayers, which charts a few days in the life of senior Israeli politician Baruch Kotler as he travels to Yalta to escape press coverage of his extra-marital affair. Along the way we pick up on Baruch’s intriguing back-story as a Soviet dissident, and also meet the man who [...]

Review: Lila – Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson came to fame with her novel Gilead in which an elderly small-town Congregational Minister John Ames reflects on his own life and the lives of his immediate family, particularly his second wife Lila and his seven year old son. In her second book Home, Robinson write about the family of John Ames best [...]

Review: The Book of Strange New Things – Michel Faber

Back in 2002 Michel Faber published a novel called The Crimson Petal and the White which Kathryn Hughes in The Guardian called “a supremely literary novel” and “dizzyingly accomplished” – a description which I totally agreed with. Looking back on this superb book I still feel it would be up in my top ten ever [...]

Review: Hidden Knowledge – Bernardine Bishop

I have never read anything by Bernardine Bishop before but was drawn to Hidden Knowledge by reading a review of it in the Sunday Times and then by the five star reviews on Amazon (which I have been pleased to add to). Although clerical abuse features in the book, I wouldn’t say that it’s [...]

Review: The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters

I thought I wouldn’t be able to stay away from writing about books for long and it only took a fine novel like The Paying Guests to start putting fingers to keyboard again.

Let me say at the start, there are no spoilers in this review.

After reading a few “so-so” books I found myself [...]

Review: Death in Pont-Aven – Jean-Luc Bannalec

And what do we have here? The first novel in a crime series by a new French writer, Jean-Luc Bannalec? Well, not quite, for most literary journalists are agreed that M Bannelec is in fact Jörg Bong, a top German publisher who has been doing a bit of moon-lighting by creating the somewhat grumpy police [...]

Review: Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes

So, it’s today’s Germany, and Adolf Hitler finds himself waking up early one afternoon on a patch of undeveloped land.

It was relatively quiet; I could not see any enemy aircraft flying overhead, or hear the thunder of artillery fire, there seemed to be no shelling nearby or explosions, no air-raid sirens. It also struck [...]

Review: Heart of the Matter – Graham Greene

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been casting around for something to read, making two or three false starts (on books which were so unimpressive I gave up on them), and finally deciding that it’s about time I revisited the works of Graham Greene. I was partly inspired by the relaunch in Amazon Kindle [...]

Review: The Asylum – Johan Theorin

Last year I enjoyed reading Johan Theorin’s book, The Quarry , the third book in a quartet of novels based on the island of Öland in the Baltic Sea. While possibly falling into the hugely popular “Scandi-crime” genre, The Quarry had elements which set it apart, not least by its interweaving of a thoroughly modern [...]

Review: Tales from the Underworld – Hans Fallada

In recent years their has been a resurgence of interest in the mid-20th century German writer Hans Fallada. His novel Alone in Berlin was an unexpected success when Penguin published a new translation in 2010. Around the same time Melville House published the novel Little Man What Now and then Penguin followed with A Small [...]