Review – Are We Related? Granta Books

This is the 200th full-length review I’ve published on A Common Reader. A sort of milestone. . .

I have been subscribing to Granta magazine for quite a few years now and enjoy its quality writing on a vast range of subjects. Its a well-produced journal, not the sort of thing you want to [...]

Review: Best European Fiction 2010 – Editor, Aleksandar Hemon

The Dalkey Archive Press is a unique enterprise, being a publisher of literary fiction that is both independent and non-profit making. This gives them the freedom to publish a unique range of title which, to quote the website, “in some way or another, upsets the apple cart, that they work against what is expected, that [...]

Review: The Lottery and Other Stories – Shirley Jackson

I am impressed with the new Shirley Jackson collection which has been published by Penguin Modern Classics, especially the book of short stories, The Lottery, but also the novels, We Have Always Lived in The Castle and The Haunting of Hill House.

American writer Shirley Jackson wrote in the middle of the last century and [...]

Review: Memoirs of an Anti-Semite – Gregor von Rezzori

I came to read Gregor Von Rezzori through reading an article, Chronicle of Loss, by John de Falbe in Slightly Foxed magazine no. 15. As a book reviewer, it is easy to concentrate on new books to the exclusion of many excellent novels which are fast-fading from public gaze. Who for example reads Somerset Maugham, [...]

Review: Missing Persons – Hartmut Lange

According to the Toby Press website, Hartmut Lange was born in Berlin in 1937 and is well-known in Germany as a contemporary novelist and playwright. He has been awarded numerous literary prizes.

Missing Persons contains three longish short stories, all in one way or another covering the theme of disconnection: a sense that all is [...]

Review: Assorted Fire Events – David Means

I was pleased when I read David Means’ Assorted Fire Events to discover a set of short stories which are just that – stories. Many contemporary short-story writers like to write stories which are more “episodes” rather than finished works in themselves . With no scene-setting or character development, they drop you into the middle [...]

Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – F Scott Fitzgerald

When I bought this book, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories, I didn’t know that the title story has now been turned into a film starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. I wondered why Penguin had just published it, and one thing for sure, if it had been a film tie-in book [...]

Review: Caravan Thieves – Gerard Woodward

I read quite a lot of short stories and find they tend to come in two categories. Some are like short novellas, complete stories with a beginning, middle and ending, and well-developed characters. The classical short-story tends to be like this whether written by Chekov, de Maupassant, Tolstoy or countless others. Other writers seems to [...]

Review: Amok and Other Stories – Stefan Zweig

It was interesting to read in Human Smoke, the subject of my earlier review, references to Stefan Zweig, and his opposition to the Nazi regime. Zweig became convinced that Nazi domination of Europe was inevitable and would lead to the extinguishing of all he held dear, leading to his death by suicide, together with his [...]

Review: Moving House – Pawel Huelle

Sometimes you read a book by new author and immediately want to read every other book they wrote. Reading Pawel Huelle’s Castorp (reviewed here) had this effect on me and now I have been able to buy used versions of Moving House and Other Stories and Who Was David Weiser?, soon to be followed by [...]