“The baby is dead.” It’s a confident author who opens with the end. Particularly an ending so shocking, so visceral, that it might repel the reader. But Lullaby by French-Moroccan writer Leila Slimani does the opposite. The description of the scene surrounding the baby’s death, is so devastatingly succinct, that…
Say Nothing By Brad Parks How far would you go to protect someone you love? Lie for them? Interfere with the course of justice? Kill someone? That’s the premise at the heart of Say Nothing, a clever, pacy new thriller from American author Brad Parks best known for his award-winning books…
One of my favourite crime books last year was The Dark Inside, the debut novel by
British writer Rod Reynolds. It was set in 1946 and Reynolds had managed to capture the all-pervasive fog of casual menace and violence that makes shows like True Detective so compelling. Now comes the sequel, Black Night Falling. It’s just a few months after The Dark Inside. Journalist Charlie Yates, bruised and bloodied, has left Texarkana hoping to pick up the jagged pieces of his life in the more benign atmosphere of America’s west coast. But a desperate phone call from a former colleague, Jimmy Robinson, pushes all the right buttons: “Dead girls. Unfinished business. The right thing.”
Yates heads for Hot Springs, Arkansas, and from his first footsteps on the airport tarmac
Nobel prizewinner Orhan Pamuk and international (and mysterious) publishing sensation Elena Ferrante are among the six authors in this year’s Man Booker International Prize 2016 shortlist, a selection which, judges said, “Stretch the boundaries not just of our world, but of fiction itself”. For the first time the Prize will be awarded for a single book rather than the previous system which rewarded a body of work. The full shortlist is:
- A General Theory of Oblivion (Harvill Secker), José Eduardo Agualusa (Angola), translated by Daniel Hahn (UK)
- The Story of the Lost Child (Europa Editions), Elena Ferrante (Italy), Ann Goldstein (USA)
- The Vegetarian (Portobello Books), Han Kang (South Korea), Deborah Smith (UK)
- A Strangeness in My Mind (Faber & Faber), Orhan Pamuk (Turkey), Ekin Oklap (Turkey)
- A Whole Life (Picador), Robert Seethaler (Austria), Charlotte Collins (UK)
- The Four Books (Chatto & Windus), Yan Lianke (China), Carlos Rojas (USA).
I wasn’t very old but I remember the assassination of President Kennedy. I remember watching as my mother dabbed at her tears with the corner of her apron while the television reports invaded our living room. I remember how my father put his arm around her protectively as she sobbed into his chest. I don’t think I really understood the implications of what was being played out in a country thousands of miles away. events that changed the world for ever. But it was the first time I had seen my mother cry, and I was very scared.
JFK’s assassination lies at the heart of Fever City, Tim Baker’s dark, labyrinthine thriller that darts backwards and forwards through time as the brutal take-no-prisoner worlds of big business, organised crime and politics collide.
It is not surprising to discover that Owen Sheers, author of the newly-released I Saw A Man, is also a poet and a playwright. Evidence of those skills are apparent throughout this ingenious and captivating novel where three men are inextricably woven together by a series of tragic events, each culpable in their own way, each also a victim of those events.
Michael Turner is a journalist who has become internationally famous particularly for a book written after years of intense observation of the subjects and immersion in their lives yet in which the writer is completely “eradicated”. He leaves his Welsh cottage and moves to London after the death of his journalist wife Caroline in a US drone attack while she is on assignment in Pakistan. On the day he moves into his new apartment he meets Josh Nelson, a Lehman Brothers banker who lives next door, and who seems to go out of his way to absorb him into his family, wife Samantha and two young daughters. Until tragedy strikes and through his guilt and pain Josh realizes that just as he has not been the perfect husband and father, Michael may not be the benign friend he had thought.
And on the other side of the world USAF Major Daniel McCullen who gave up his
How many books is too many? I confess there’s more than a little self interest involved in the question. The long list for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction has just been announced and it’s a whopping 20 books long, albeit from 165 original applicants. The prize, which was previously known as the Orange, is for a full-length novel written in english by a woman of any nationality and published in the United Kingdom.
Of course a plus for having long lists longer than the customary 10 or 12 titles is that many more authors are able to get their moment in the literary sunshine. This particularly applies to debut authors of which the long list has five including Emma Healey’s Elizabeth is Missing, which won the Costa Prize, and Laline Paull’s dystopian The Bees. It also gives the judges the opportunity to broaden the range of work celebrated beyond what might be viewed as more “conventional” subject and style.
On the downside, I know I am not alone in liking to read as many of the contenders for
It’s been a big week for literary prizes with the announcement of the Man Booker long list hogging most of the headlines. This has resulted in the long list for the annual Dylan Thomas Prize going largely unnoticed which is a shame, not least because this is the centenary year of the Wales’s most famous son.
The Dylan Thomas prize was set up seven years ago to encourage and develop exciting young talent and is open to writers aged 39, across all genres. The list just announced includes former Man Booker winner Eleanor Catton (the Luminaries) and Bailey’s Women’s Prize winner Eimear McBride (A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing). Welsh poet and author Owen Sheers is there as is fellow poet Jamaican Kei Miller, crime writer Tom Rob