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  Rough Magic is the kind of book I devoured as a child, a rip-roaring, triumph-against-adversity adventure, set in a faraway, exotic locale, told by the real-life hero, who usually, 99 per cent of the time, was male. In this case, the hero of the story is actually a heroine … and, God, ain’t that … Continue readings

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  I recently reread Elizabeth Smart’s classic By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, which I first devoured as an eager teen and have come back to many times since. It resonated then, the language so beautiful, the emotion so raw. It still rates as one of my top books about love – … Continue readings

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  Jodie Jackson’s You Are What You Read: Why Changing Your Media Diet Can Change the World is what all good non-fiction should be – exciting, challenging and perceptive. That said, we are Jackson’s readership. The people who’ve stopped reading newspapers, watching the news, even watching terrestrial television because we’re irritated with the way in … Continue readings

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  ‘Let him be an example. My Frank. Of how to live best, and to stop all this death. Let them put down their knives, stop being ruled by fear. They are all so fearful, that’s why my boy died. Not because another kid was showing off, as the papers said, not muscles being flexed. … Continue readings

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  A beautifully nuanced novel, Permission by Saskia Vogel is a sometimes challenging and often lyrical exploration of longing, loneliness and loss. Following her father’s tragic death, LA actress Echo struggles to deal with her bereavement – ‘the gape of loss’. Cast adrift, she embarks on a series of meaningless encounters with men, before meeting … Continue readings

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  Today, we’re delighted to welcome Canadian author Paul E. Hardisty to The Literary Lounge. Shortlisted for the CWA John Creasy Dagger award, Paul’s Claymore Straker series is critically acclaimed and has garnered fans such as Lee Child. Turbulent Wake, Paul’s latest book, is a beautifully penned standalone, examining love and loss. It is published … Continue readings

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  Set in Edinburgh in the 1840s, Ambrose Parry’s excellent The Way of All Flesh is an utter joy. From the very first line, we are immersed in the Victorian world of Will Raven, a struggling medical student, newly apprenticed to the eminent Scottish obstetrician Dr James Young Simpson. As the city is beset by … Continue readings

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  When I first heard the premise for Louise Beech’s Call Me Star Girl, Clint Eastwood’s iconic film Play Misty for Me (1971) came to mind – late night DJ with potentially crazed stalker fan, murder, bloody murder, secrets and lies … Certainly, there’s something extremely filmic about the book and, like Eastwood, from the … Continue readings

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  We’re great Tom Cox fans. We love him, in fact. He first came into our lives on Twitter, when we, like many, many others, followed the hilarious, poignant and sometimes quite daft escapades of his feline friends. This essay collection, 21st-Century Yokel, is, in fact, dedicated to two of them, his (and our) beloved … Continue readings

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  Archie was fifty-two years old. One of life’s natural procrastinators, he was aware that life was passing him by. It was happening slowly, and without any real abrasion, but even in his positive moments, he acknowledged that he should do something about it. There were essentially four routes for his kind: the factory shift … Continue readings

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  There’s something extremely unsettling about Harriet Tyce’s Blood Orange – unsettling, unnerving, compelling. As I read it, I could feel myself getting more and more tense and then angry – at the characters and the situations they put themselves in, yes, but then at myself. So many of the things that the protagonist experiences … Continue readings

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  The rain creates walls in the night. Falling from the sky, they are like mirrors, reflecting and warping the blue light from the police car. Everything spins. The street emerges from the darkness and loses itself behind the harbour lights, and there – right in the middle, just where it suddenly drops downhill – … Continue readings

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