Review: Ljubljana Tales – New Europe Writers

Ljubljana Tales is published by New Europe Writers, a publishing enterprise dedicated to exploring the literary connections between the various European states, with an emphasis on those countries which were formally behind the Iron Curtain.

They have published several volumes of “Tales” including Warsaw Tales (now available for free download), Budapest Tales, Prague Tales [...]

Review: We’re Flying – Peter Stamm

Short stories come in so many different types you never know what you’re getting until you open the book and plough into the first two or three. Sometimes the main purpose of them is entertainment as with collections of crime or humorous stories. Other times they have a message, perhaps being little vignettes illustrating [...]

Review: The Queen of Spades – Alexander Pushkin

Pushkin Press are known for beautifully designed volumes of translated fiction, usually in a smaller format than most paperbacks. The Queen of Spades and Selected Works by Alexander Pushkin is a gem of a book with its Naples Yellow cover, its fold-over cover and its archival quality paper. I gave up my precious e-reader [...]

Review: Cold Sea Stories – Pawel Huelle

I have been following Pawel Huelle’s writings for some time now. A few of his books have now been translated by the excellent Antonia Llloyd-Jones and they rate highly as examples of modern European literature.

For my 300th article on this website I am pleased to write about Huelle’s new book, Cold Sea Stories. This [...]

Review: Apricot Jam and Other Stories – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

A new book by by Russian giant of literature Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) seems like a throwback to the 1960s and 70s when the Soviet Empire was threatening the world with nuclear holocaust and American politicians spent their days worrying about the spread of communism. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch, Cancer Ward, the [...]

Review: Screwtop Thompson – Magnus Mills

Magnus Mills first novel, The Restraint of Beasts (1998) was a wondrous creation, comic and tragic at the same time, portraying an episode in the life of two fencing contractors Tam and Richie and their un-named supervisor. A deceptively simple read, it addressed issues of crime and punishment in a setting quite unlike anything I [...]

Review: The Empty Family – Colm Tóibín

I am writing this review early in the morning in the strange half-light reflecting into the house from the eight inches of snow which fell overnight down here on the South Coast of England.

I often find short-story collections disappointing, mainly because so many writers try to create impact by giving their work an unwarranted [...]

Review: Some German-language short stories

I recently read two books of short stories by early 20th century German writers – Selected Stories of Robert Walser (actually a Swiss national, but writing in German), and Boys and Murderers by Hermann Ungar. These writers are almost equally strange. Hermann Ungar was a Czech Zionist who died at the age of 38 in [...]

Review – The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

My only knowledge of Lydia Davis, before coming to The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, is that she was the translator of Marcel Proust’s Swanns Way, in the Penguin edition which adorns my shelves – and its one of the six volumes of Remembrance of Things Past which I’ve actually read (only three to [...]

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 [...]