reviews

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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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  Alice Jolly’s Between the Regions of Kindness takes its title from Naomi Shibab Nye’s poem ‘Kindness’ – ‘how desolate the landscape can be / between the regions of kindness’. Fourteen years in the making, the novel is a moving, rather beautiful in parts, exploration of loss, grief and culpability. Moving between the Second World … 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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  When I first read the precis of Joe Nutt’s The Point of Poetry, I wanted to read it. I’m a poetry gal – read it, write it, love it. Like a great piece of art or music, a poem that resonates is worth its weight in gold and Nutt’s book is a good introduction … 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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  Ester looks around. The world hasn’t changed. People on the pavements are scurrying to and fro. Outside the entrance to Christiania Steam Kitchen a woman is sweeping. A barber is putting a sign outside his shop. This is what dying is like, she thinks. You have gone and the world doesn’t care. You die … Continue readings

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  People talked about Japan as a losers’ paradise for gaijin foreigners, especially males. But I never found it was the case. … Here I was, coming straight from the sack into an untaxing job that left me free of financial concerns. I had friends and a place to live that was convenient, even if … 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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  There’s seemingly much to like about Inborn, Thomas Enger’s latest tome. Set in Friedheim, a small village in Norway, where everyone pretty much knows each other’s business, it opens with the deaths of teens Mari Lindgren and Johannes Eklund. As suspicion falls on Even, Mari’s recently axed boyfriend, he finds himself  judged on social … Continue readings

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  According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), migraines are rated the nineteenth most common reason for disability globally. Sufferers reportedly visit A&E/doctors twice as much as patients who don’t have the disorder, and use twice the number of prescription drugs. But can the symptoms of this debilitating disorder (and Meniere’s Disease) be managed through … Continue readings

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  An ebook sensation, selling over 100,000 copies, The Sewing Machine by Scottish author Natalie Fergie is published this month, in paperback, by Unbound. Spanning the years from 1911 to 2016, Fergie’s novel was inspired by her own collection of sewing machines and her desire for just one more – the Singer 99K. When she … Continue readings

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