the literary lounge

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  On 23 June 1919, seven exceptional women gathered at 46 Dover Street in London’s Mayfair to do something that had never been done before – to create a professional organisation dedicated to campaigning for women’s rights. It was the official birth of the Women’s Engineering Society, the fruit of an idea conceived  several months … Continue readings

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  The first thing that struck me about Tot Taylor’s The Story of John Nightly is that it is BIG. Seriously big. 896 pages big. A good-looking edition, with a great typographical cover, it’s a true doorstop of a book in the vein of old classics like War and Peace, to which it’s been compared … Continue readings

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  We’ve already waxed lyrical about the IWM’s republishing of four Second World War literary classics this month. By doing so, it’s giving voice to men and women who wrote so beautifully and poignantly about a great, brutal war. David Piper’s extraordinary Trial By Battle is the second book we’re reviewing and it is quite … Continue readings

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  Gosh, hats off to the Imperial War Museum for great publishing with the wartime classics series. We’ve already reviewed two of the four novels being republished by the IWM this month. Now, with great pleasure, we’ve become acquainted with Anthony Quayle’s very fine and highly entertaining adventure Eight Hours to England. Based on Quayle’s … Continue readings

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  There’s a lovely moment In the Absence of Miracles, when Michael J. Malone’s protagonist is catching up with a childhood friend whom he hasn’t seen in an age, and the residual awkwardness that one quite often feels in such circumstances just falls away. ‘There we sat, with legs kicking the side. The years fell … Continue readings

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    Today, we’re delighted to welcome to the Literary Lounge acclaimed writer AUSMA ZEHANAT KHAN, creator of the award-winning Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty series. Ausma holds a doctorate in international human rights law and each book highlights a different global human rights issue. No Place of Refuge, the fourth book featuring this Toronto-based … Continue readings

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  We have a great fondness for cult 60s’ TV series, like The Persuaders, The Champions, and so on, partly because they were so slick – full of beautiful people, great locales, lovely styling, witty dialogue and wonderful music scores, usually by John Barry – and partly because we binge watched them on DVD, trying … Continue readings

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  When I was reading Laura Thompson’s beautifully penned The Last Landlady, I was trying to think about why I love memoir and biography so much. What it is about these genres that so enthralls. And when they’re done well, they are enthralling, the writers weaving us into the subjects’ worlds so tightly that we’re … Continue readings

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  There’s a reason why the phrase ‘stranger than fiction’ exists: that reality is often far more baffling than anything any writer could dream up. The premise for Lara Prescott’s much-lauded debut novel, The Secrets We Kept, underlines this, detailing real events involving the CIA, Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago and a plot to undermine the … Continue readings

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  We learn about war from an early age. We’re taught about it in our classrooms, read about it in the beautiful, haunting poetry of the war poets – Sassoon, Owen, Jarrell. Yet now social media and our global village world mean our access to war is pretty much immediate and, we are, in many … Continue readings

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  Bestselling author Kathryn Hughes’ latest offering, Her Latest Promise, follows one woman’s quest to discover what happened to the mother who disappeared 40 years ago. Moving between England and Spain, it is set in dual timelines, a very popular literary device at the moment, and is told from multiple viewpoints. In the late 1970s, … Continue readings

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  THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A ROLLICKING GREAT ADVENTURE, particularly one with rich historical and global context. The Outrageous Fortune of Abel Morgan, veteran author Cynthia Jefferies’ first foray into adult fiction, is one such tale. Set just after the end of the English Civil War, the story opens with Christopher Morgan returning from exile in … Continue readings

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  ‘There are people who think they understand a book just because they know how to read. I already told you that books are like mirrors: every person finds in them what they have in their own head. The problem is that you only discover what you have inside you when you read the right … Continue readings

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  Perhaps Richard was right. Perhaps this was a mistake. Not a starting over, nor a moving on, after all. He had called it a pilgrimage. More a hopeless, poisonous return, than a soul-saving reclamation. Like that elephant revisiting my loss until it overwhelms me, saps the life and energy from me.… The elephant returns … Continue readings

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  Have you heard of kintsugi? Sydney says. Ila shakes her head. It’s the old Japanese art of repairing broken or chipped pottery. They use layers of lacquer, often with powdered gold. Instead of hiding the damage, it’s embraced. It’s treated as part of an object’s ongoing beauty. I love that, Ila says.”   Rachel … Continue readings

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